EU environment ministers have voted for a compromise deal that will allow individual member states to ban GMO crops if they wish.
Those in favour of GMO – or Genetically Modified Organisms – can go ahead with planting them under certain conditions.
The agreement struck in Luxembourg comes after nearly four years of negotiation.
The draft text will now be reviewed by MEPs at their next plenary session.
Seven EU countries have already introduced their own ban.
A six-year, EU-wide ban on GMOs was lifted in 2004 by the European Commission, which insisted on strict traceability and labelling rules.
The US and Canada have previously challenged the bloc at the World Trade Organisation over its reluctance to import and sell such products, arguing it was a barrier to free trade.