The new European Union Commission must support innovation in biotech and gene editing if it is to achieve its ambitions for creating clean technology and high-value jobs, a leading MEP warned today.
The warning came from Anthea McIntyre, UK Conservative spokesman on both agriculture and environment, at a symposium on gene editing held in the European Parliament as part of European Biotech Week.
She cited population increase, climate change and pressures from alternative land use as pressures on food production and said: "Our ambition as Europe is to be world leaders in clean tech, innovation, high value jobs, an inclusive society and good access to healthcare for all.
"This has been reflected recently in the new Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s mission letters to the commissioners designate. But we simply cannot deliver on this ambition without supporting innovative sectors such as biotech.
"We have seen most recently the impact of the European Court ruling, just over a year ago, on the plant based innovation sector. Wide-spread alarm has been raised by EU researchers and academics on the likely negative impacts on this world-leading sector and on the possible consequences for food waste and food security.
"The current legislation is not fit for purpose and urgently needs review to ensure risk-based, proportionate and science-based policy. I hope that the new commission will commit to working on this over the coming five years and I know industry stands ready to support this process
"We must provide the most fertile ground for EU innovation and we need to keep doing what we do best, which is collaborating and working across nationalities and disciplines.
"The EU and particularly this Parliament has to decide whether we accept science or not in our decision making. I hope we do!"