Under new EU laws, individual countries can seek exclusion from any approval request for GM cultivation across the EU.
Monsanto said it was been made aware of requests to the European Commission from Latvia and Greece to be removed from the scope of its request for EU re-authorization that will allow continued cultivation of MON810 insect-resistant maize within the European Member States.
Under the new law, while the European Commission is still responsible for approvals, requests to be excluded also have to be submitted to the company making the application.
In a statement on its blog, Monsanto said it has acquiesced to the two opt-out requests “and will consider any other such requests on a case-by-case basis,” adding that the opt-out requests on MON810 cultivation will have no impact on its business.
“Our business has long since moved on, and is entirely focused on delivering other innovative products and services to help farmers produce more, better and more affordable food, fuel and fibre more efficiently,” said Monsanto.
“Nevertheless, we regret that some countries are deviating from a science-based approach to innovation in agriculture and have elected to prohibit the cultivation of a successful GM product on arbitrary political grounds.”
Germany and Scotland have also publicly announced their opposition to GMO cultivation on their territories in recent weeks. However, a statement from the European Commission confirmed that so far only Latvia and Greece had asked for opt-outs from Monsanto's request to continue to grow MON810.
In 2013, Monsanto said it would not be applying for any new approvals in Europe – saying at the time that it would focus on its conventional (non-GM) business in Europe. Weeks later, the firm said it would cease all lobbying activities and new applications in Europe on the back of ‘stiff opposition’ from the public.
"As long as there's not enough demand from farmers for these products and the public at large doesn't accept the technology, it makes no sense to fight against windmills," Monsanto spokeswoman Ursula Luettmer-Ouazane said at the time.
“We have no intention of seeking approval for the cultivation of any new GM seeds in Europe anytime soon,” Monsanto reiterated in its most recent statement.