More than 20 of Europe's most prominent plant scientists signed a joint
letter warning that Europe may lose its research lead unless plant science
is adequately funded. The most influential plant scientists from Germany,
Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, and Sweden
are concerned that European basic and applied plant science may be relegated
to a second tier status.
The signatories are concerned that Europe may fall short on its current
'Horizon 2020' goals of producing "world-class science" and removing
"barriers to innovation" unless European policymakers take a more
pro-science stance. The scientists state that the current EU "de facto
moratorium on transgenic plant approvals has been detrimental for applied
plant science and has effectively eliminated possibilities for publicly
funded scientists and small companies to address the big challenges for
The open letter calls for a fundamental revision of GM regulation, and warns
that "in most European countries permits to perform field experiments with
transgenic plants are blocked, not on scientific but on political grounds,"
and that where field experiments are permitted "these are often
systematically vandalized, causing huge scientific and financial losses,"
hampering scientific efforts to tackle agricultural pests and respond to
climate change. They reveal that "some of us have even been threatened and
had private property vandalized."