Stage Set for Next Battle Over GMO Corn in France
French court overturns ban on Monsanto's GMO corn, but government pushes back
France's top administrative court overturned on Thursday a government ban on the cultivation of a genetically modified (GMO) corn made by American biotech giant Monsanto.
In overturning the ban, the Counsel of the State said that a ban "can only be taken by a member state in case of an emergency or if a situation poses a major risk."
A ban on the corn, MON810, was originally enacted in 2008, overturned by a French court in 2011 and reinstated in March of 2012.
France's Minister of Agriculture, Stéphane Le Foll, pushed back against the court's ruling on Thursday, saying the Counsel of State is "not the decider" of who can and cannot ban GMOs, and said the "government line would be the same: we are not in favor of GMOs."
Despite the court's announcement, France's President François Hollande said on Friday that there would be an extension of the MON810 moratorium, adding that it was still necessary to make the decision legally safe within the national and European framework.
As Greenpeace France points out, France wasn't alone in its MON810 ban; Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg and Poland all have a ban on cultivation of the GMO corn, and the French government, it says, should heed their example to continue to fight for a GMO-free France.
Le Foll and environment minister Philippe Martin said the government would make its decision on the GMO corn "before the next seeds are sown which will take place between April and June of 2014."