nsmail-1Madrid, 17 December 2012 – Friends of the Earth (Spain) and Access Info Europe today (17 December 2012) presented a request for information calling on the Spanish Government to reveal the location of field with genetically modified maize which it is keeping secret in violation of EU law. The request was submitted via the website tuderechasaber.es (“your right to know”) and delivered in person to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Spain is the only EU country with large scale production of genetically modified crops – around 100,000 hectares

[1] – while other countries such as France and Germany have prohibited its growth.

Successive Spanish governments have supported genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in spite of Eurobarometer polls which indicate that over half of the population (53%) is against [2]. In 2010 Wikileaks cables indicated that the Spanish and US governments were collaborating in lobbying Brussels to support of GMO production [3].

EU law requires the creation of a public register with the exact location of all plots of land with genetically modified crops. [4].

Spain does not yet have such a register: The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, only has a web page with the number of hectares of GMO crops per province.

The lack of information causes serious problems for other farmers whose crops may contaminated, without them knowing about it, which prevents them from taking preventive measures or being able to take legal action. The resulting economic damage includes organic farmers who have lost their organic status because of possible contamination.

In the access to information request submitted today, Amigos de la Tierra and Access Info Europe are requesting that the Spanish government complies with the EU norms. They note that the European Commission recently (21 November 2012) warned Poland that if it does not create the register within two months, it will consider taking legal action before the European Court of Justice [5]. The Spanish NGOs note that the lack of transparency in Spain is also a violation of the Aarhus Convention on access to environmental information.

“The Spanish government has claimed that there is no problem with the cultivation of GMOs in Spain; without transparency there can be no independent control of whether or not this is true,” stated Liliane Spendeler, director of Friends of the Earth.

“Without information it’s impossible to have a public debate about the highly controversial topic of genetically modified crops,” commented Helen Darbishire of Access Info Europe.

For more information, please contact:

Alicia Costas, Access Info Europe

e-mail: alicia@access-info.org | tel: +34 91 365 65 58 | mobile: +34 655 970 814

Teresa Rodríguez, Amigos de la Tierra

e-mail: prensa@tierra.org | 680 936 327 | 913069900


[1] Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Enviorment estimates can be found here (in Spanish): http://www.magrama.gob.es/es/calidad-y-evaluacion-ambiental/temas/biotecnologia/organismos-modificados-geneticamente-omg-/consejo-interministerial-de-ogms/superficie.aspx

[2] Eurobarometer polls show that 53% of Spanish population is opposed to cultivation of GMOs (in Spanish): http://www.tierra.org/spip/spip.php?article1202

[3] USA cables reveal that: “Spain is asking us to pressure Brussels in favor of genetically modified crops” (in Spanish) http://www.elpais.com/articulo/espana/EE/UU/Espana/nos/pide/presionemos/Bruselas/favor/transgenicos/elpepuesp/20101218elpepunac_12/Tes

[4] Directive 2001/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 March 2001 on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms (in English): http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2001:106:0001:0038:EN:PDF

[5] The European Commission formally requests Poland to amend its legislation to comply with EU rules on monitoring of GMO cultivation (21 November 2012): http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-12-876_en.htm.