Individual EU nations will be able to ban cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops under a compromise deal agreed on Tuesday (January 13) that ends years of deadlock over the barbed issue and could actually boost GM farming.
A list of GM products is awaiting EU approval and Tuesday's vote in the European Parliament opens the way for the authorities to review it.
Widely-grown in the Americas and Asia, GM crops in Europe have divided opinions. Many countries, including France and Germany, oppose them, while others, like Britain, favours them.
Some figures in the GM industry were unhappy, complaining that the compromise meant countries would be able to reject GM crops for unscientific reasons.
Industry body EuropaBio, which represents companies such as Syngenta and Monsanto, argued that the compromise deal sent a negative signal to industries considering investing in Europe.
"This is really a license to ban safe products. We cannot agree with that as a science-based industry, and we also think it sets a really bad precedent for other products," said Baet Spaeth, director of biotechnology at Europabio.
"Now for the moment it's just GMOs, but who knows if in the future member states, or also at European level, products of another kind will not be banned just because some people don't like them."