A pair of leaked cables (09MADRID482, 07PARIS4723), spanning two US presidencies, demonstrate the United States’ unwaivering push for the expansion of GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) crops; particularly that of Monsanto’s flagship European modified corn crop MON810. These cables demonstrate the interference in EU politics, to further the ends of business interests and regardless of the right of EU citizens to debate and decide.
A cable sent by Ambassador Stapleton in December 2007 concerns France’s status as a leader amongst EU countries looking to decide their policy on GMOs. The US interests mentioned preclude to the continued export of MON819 corn, a patented crop produced by US biotech giant Monsanto. There is no separation of US Government and the independent corporation Monsanto, or acknowledgement that EU nations have the right to choose for themselves on biotech issues.
“Mission Paris recommends that that the USG reinforce our negotiating position with the EU on agricultural biotechnology by publishing a retaliation list when the extend “Reasonable Time Period” expires. In our view, Europe is moving backwards not forwards on this issue with France playing a leading role, along with Austria, Italy and even the Commission … In France, the “Grenelle” environment process is being implemented to circumvent science-based decisions in favor of an assessment of the “common interest.”
This cable, goes so far as to suggest a systematic targeting and organised campaign to attempt to stop the banning of GMOs within the European Union:
“Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory.”
Clearly there has been a systematic attempt to influence EU policy on GMOs in favor of American corporate interests, which seeks to override the democracy of EU states.
But have things changed under the Obama administration? Another cable sent in May 2009 from the US embassy in Madrid suggests not. It details the extent to which the United States is willing to exert political pressure in favor of the continued planting of genetically modified crops. In particular, a request is made to the United States Government (USG) by the Spanish Secretary of State and Deputy Minister Josep Puxeu and the multinational corporation Monsanto to “renew support of Spain’s science-based agricultural biotechnology position”, in order to emphasize the conclusion arrived at by the European Food Safety Authority, that is, “no new scientific evidence [was found] of risk related to MON810 plantings”. However, in the same cable, it is admitted that the study is being questioned.