Commissioner stands silent amid the alien corn

Greek Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou voted to approve the cultivation of genetically modified Bt11 corn at a meeting of the European Commission in January, sources say. The decision, which press reports say was unopposed, effectively gives the green light to the cultivation of GM corn. Commissioners who had expressed their opposition in the past – Michel Barnier, responsible for regional policy and institutional reform, and Michaele Schreyer, responsible for the budget – appeared to have withdrawn their objections. Anna Diamantopoulou was nowhere mentioned as a resister. A front-page report by the daily Avgi, which revealed the Greek commissioner’s nod to GMOs, remained unanswered. This is no small issue. For a start, it means a U-turn on the part of the Greek government, which until recently supported the moratorium on the cultivation of GM crops. This change of policy took place without open debate – and this during a pre-election period – when the supposedly sovereign people are called on to judge and decide. Diamantopoulou’s stance, coupled with PASOK Chairman George Papandreou’s inclination toward «biotechnology» (shorthand for genetically modified products) as far as the agricultural sector is concerned, suggests PASOK’s new leadership has adopted GM products wholesale.