Norfolk MP says EU’s hostility towards science is hampering investment
06:30 10 January 2014
The rise of an “increasingly science hostile” European Union is undermining our attractiveness as a place to invest, MP George Freeman has said while calling for reform or the UK would try to “take back” science regulation from Brussels.
The Norfolk MP will today publish a report for the European reform project, Fresh Start, in which he highlights an increasing tide of “anti-biotech” legislation.
He said the EU’s hostility to Genetically Modified crops had already seen German based BASF and US major Monsanto announcing its withdrawl from Europe in agricultural research and development, adding that EU policymaking machine was being driven by “increasingly strident and politically active biotech-hostile lobbying groups, and minority political parties exercising influence through the coalition politics of member states.”
Mr Freeman said the Norwich Research Park and “Norfolk-Cambridge corridor” was an opportunity to attract major inward investment, but the opportunities could be put at risk by EU legislation.
He said: “Increasingly institutionalised prejudice against the appliance of science and biotechnology in key sectors of medicine and food and agriculture risks condemning Europe to a new ‘dark age’, cut off from playing a potentially major role pioneering the new technologies with the potential to help feed, fuel and heal the developing world, tackling the growing global crisis of food and medicine.
“Over the next 30 years the world faces a major Global Challenge in the three core life science sectors of food, medicine and energy: how to double world food production to feed nine billion people in 2050, with half as much water and energy, from the same land mass?
“Biotechnology is the defining technology of our age, with technologies such as GM, nanotech and genomic medicine unlocking new opportunities for the world’s population to transform the life prospects of the poorest people on earth.
“But the rise of an increasingly science hostile green politics in Europe is starting to undermine Europe’s attractiveness as a location for biotech investment, and risks condemning Europe as a backwater in some of the most exciting fields of human endeavour.”