EU aims to speed up votes on approvals
The European Commission is seeking to improve the efficiency of procedures when EU member states cannot reach the majority votes required to approve agrochemicals or genetically modified crops. Under current rules, if the EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health cannot agree on proposed approval decisions, the proposal is forwarded to an appeal committee. However, the Commission notes that some of the meetings are "very short" because there is no change in the position of member states or the Commission. To save resources, before each appeal vote, it intends to ask member states if they would accept a written procedure instead of a physical meeting. Since the appeal committee started in March 2011, all GM crop approvals have had to go through the process, together with some agrochemicals (Agrow passim). While it has been faster than the previous voting system using EU Ministers, the appeal vote usually remains divided, leaving the Commission to rubberstamp its own proposals.