In our years-long battle against allowing GMOs on the market and in nature, Bulgarian governments, whoever they have been, have taken a pro-GMO stance. This is why I am not surprised by the position of the current government.” The association was one of the organisers in Varna of the mass protests against the authorisation of GMOs in Bulgaria 13 years ago.
“One of the first laws that the first government of Boyko Borissov decided to adopt was a normative act to allow GMOs. Then there were a lot of protests, a lot of civic energy and a decision was made to ban genetically modified products on the territory of Bulgaria. Since then the attempts to allow them have not stopped and finally in May they will get away with it,” Iliev said.
A day ago, Agriculture Minister Kiril Vatev presented the new position of the Council of Ministers on the proposed Regulation on plants derived from certain new genomic techniques, as well as food and feed derived from them, at a meeting of the European Union (EU) Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels. Under pressure from farming and environmental organisations, the position was changed from “For” to “Abstain”, which in effect does not reject the European Commission’s proposal to authorise so-called gene-edited organisms.
“It doesn’t matter what the technology is called – genetic modification or gene editing, it’s always messing with the genome of plants to make them more resistant to herbicides,” Ilian Iliev said. In his words, the whole process is orchestrated by the companies that produce herbicides and pesticides. “Regardless of how the arguments are packaged, commercial interest is always at the core. Whatever they tell you, it is about manipulation at the level of genes in the cell,” Iliev said. He recalled that once GMOs are released in nature, they assimilate other plants. “One day we will be without traditional crops and varieties. Organic farming is becoming history. And this will affect the Bulgarian producer”, predicts the chairman of the Public Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development.