Greenpeace rebukes Macron over “new GMOs”

Greenpeace challenged President Emmanuel Macron, on Sunday, the day after his visit to the Salon de l’Agriculture, on his positions in favor of new genomic editing techniques for plants which, according to the association, produce “new GMOs”.

A handful of activists first climbed the arch which marks the entrance to the Parc des Expositions at the Porte de Versailles to deploy a banner “For sustainable agriculture, no to new GMOs”, before activating smoke bombs from green color, noted an AFP journalist.

A dozen activists, dressed in white CBRN-type overalls bearing the names of the largest agrochemical firms, then “sowed” green corn kernels, around an activist dressed up as Emmanuel Macron, on the park esplanade. Exhibitions, under the sometimes amused, sometimes disapproving gaze of visitors.

They chanted slogans such as “No, no, no to regulation, yes, yes, yes to our profits”.

The NGO wanted to “put a little pressure on the candidates for the presidential election who have already declared that they would like to see the development of new GMOs in French agriculture, in the first place Emmanuel Macron”, said said Joseph D’Halluin, Agriculture campaigner at Greenpeace, to the press.

Emmanuel Macron’s candidacy for a new term as President of the Republic has not been formally announced but is expected any day.

“We must be able in France, in a controlled, open, transparent way, by giving democratic guarantees, to carry out innovations which make it possible to advance in practices and to have both productivity and better resistance to hazards and risks, NBTs are part of it”, declared Emmanuel Macron, during a round table with the Young Farmers’ Union, in September 2021.

In July 2018, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) ruled that organisms resulting from new genome editing techniques, or NBT (new breeding techniques) fell “in principle, within the scope of the GMO Directive “which prescribes a set of rules for authorisation, traceability, labeling and surveillance.

But the European Union paved the way at the end of April 2021 for a relaxation of these rules for NBTs. A report commissioned by the European Commission comes out in favor of new legislation. According to its authors, the GMO directive “is not adapted” to “scientific and technological progress”.

The action, which continued in certain pavilions of the Salon de l’Agriculture, was calmly dispersed at the end of the morning.

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