Europe must back GM or just be an old-tech museum, Willetts warns


The Times

Published on 10 June 2013

Britain is urging the European Union to ease restrictions on genetically modified crops and other cutting-edge branches of science before the continent becomes a “museum of 20th century technology”, the Science Minister has said.

David Willetts said that EU rules were holding back ground-breaking work in fields as diverse as medicine, agriculture and space exploration, and ministers were worried that Europe could lag behind. He also voiced concern about Europe's failure to feed itself despite exporting GM technology to the third world.

It is understood support is building in Brussels for a change of heart on GM, with Germany the key swing voter. Torn between a need to wean the public off food imports from outside the EU on the one hand and staunch opposition from the influential Green Party on the other, the German position is believed to be in flux before the country's general election this autumn.

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