There is a myth going around that GMO crops are banned in Europe. That's simply untrue. This group of grad students out of Harvard (going by Science in the News - SITN) put together a nice post on the difference in US and EU regulation of GMOs.
As this graphic from their piece shows, The EU has approved many of the same crops as in the US (though they are slower and haven't approved as many yet).
One way to look at this is to say the EU was more prudent and cautions. Another view is that the more bureaucratic process cost the EU 10 years or more before they could have access to Bt corn and round-up ready beets, and that for a decade US farmers were able to reduce insecticide use and transition to no-till because our regulatory process was more expedient.
Yesterday I taped a segment with CBC radio in Canada (I'll post to it when it airs) that involved a discussion between several people on genetic engineering in animals. One of the panelists on the anti-GMO side was very critical of the US and Canadian regulatory processes, and there seemed to be an implicit argument that these crops/animals wouldn't be approved if our regulator process were different. However, as the above graph shows, some of these crops can indeed be approved under very different regulatory regimes - though at a much slower rate.
Here's another nice graphic from the piece on differences in US and EU regulatory processes for GMOs.