Monday, 2 April 2007

The Virrankoski Report

Glennis Wilmott, my Labour MEP, replies.

She can't match Roger Helmer (Tory MEP) for laughs!

21 March 2007

Dear Rob

GM Crops – the Virrankoski report

Thank you for your recent letter/email expressing concern over the European Union's policy towards GM crops. I believe that the Report that you are referring to is the 'Virrankoski' Report which is a non-legislative document that aims to highlight the role that Biotechnology and GM crops have in Europe's future agricultural policy.

This Report sets out primarily to promote the use of bio-technology as the answer to many of the major problems facing the world in the coming years and specifically urges the EU to take a bigger role in this. It argues that challenges brought about by poverty and environmental changes can be met by further research and investment in Biotechnology and urges this to be sanctioned by the European Commission and Member States. The Report also calls for a strategy plan to be agreed on as soon as possible by the Commission with consultation from the major stakeholders (including environmental NGO's).

However, I and my Labour colleagues here in the European Parliament do not believe the report gives a fair and balanced argument, particularly in its vague references to the human and environmental damage that may one day develop from extensive use of GMO's.

In light of this, the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, of which Labour MEPs are members, asked for the Report to be taken off the March Plenary agenda in Strasbourg. After consultation between the main political groups, it has been decided to refer it back to the Agriculture Committee for further debate.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes

Glenis Willmott MEP

This has been the best, most well-reasoned response I have received. I'll shake Glennis tree over the next few days with a reply challenging Labour's record on the environment.

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