As the deadline approaches for EU governments to declare that they wish to opt out of GM cultivation in their territories, half of EU countries have now requested such an exemption, including Scotland, Germany and France.
Alyn Smith, SNP member of the European Parliament and member of the Agriculture Committee, commended those governments who have called for opt-outs but expressed disappointment that there has not been greater support to keep the EU GM free.
"From the start, this proposal from the Commission was nothing short of a Trojan horse for GM corporations, and one riddled with holes too.
"Allowing the European single market to fragment in such a way was irresponsible and counter-productive by the Commission and I am still concerned that the only people to gain from this move will be the lawyers. GM cultivation is precisely the sort of issue that proves the value of the EU and is best dealt with by the EU as a whole, and for it to be dumped back on to the laps of the member states because it is just too controversial is a dereliction of responsibility by the European Commission.
"I am pleased, however, that Scotland has been joined by half of EU member states in requesting an opt-out from cultivation. We are, of course, in favour of research and development but this must take place in the lab, not in the food chain. The GM industry has the rest of the world to experiment in and the super-crop has not yet materialised, so in the meantime our priority is rightly to maintain Scotland's reputation for natural quality and environmental sensitivity."
For a map of Europe showing the member states in which GM cultivation is banned versus where GM cultivation is encouraged, please click here.
The countries that have requested an opt-out are: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, France Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Poland.
The United Kingdom has requested for a partial opt-out for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, while Belgium asked for a ban for Wallonia.