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EU Governments Keep National Bans On GMOs

Between 1997 and 2000, the five countries invoked so-called "national safeguard measures" to block the genetically modified products from coming on the market although they were permitted in the EU.
Luxembourg (AFP) Jun 24, 2005
EU governments voted Friday to keep in place bans on some genetically modified crops, slapping down a proposal from the EU's executive commission to lift them.

EU environment ministers meeting here voted down proposals from the European Commission to lift national bans on genetically modified maize and oilseed rape in Austria, France, Germany, Greece and Luxembourg.

"We gave a sharp and clear message on the commission's proposal," said Luxembourg environment minister Lucien Lux, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency until the end of the month.

Between 1997 and 2000, the five countries invoked so-called "national safeguard measures" to block the genetically modified products from coming on the market although they were permitted in the EU.

"The commission has a legal obligation to make sure that the existing regulatory framework governing the release of GMOs is correctly applied by member states," said EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas.

"What is certain is that today's vote sends a political signal that member states may want to revisit some aspects of the existing system," he added.

Brussels will have to come up fast with new legislation allowing for the bans to be kept because the EU faces the threat of Argentina, Canada and the United States making complaints before the World Trade Organisation.

Environmental pressure groups hailed the blow to the commission.

"Decisions on GMOs are a blatant example of the EUs democratic deficit. The cxommission must learn from todays lesson and stop hiding behind technocratic procedures and confidential expertise to force GMOs into our fields and supermarkets," Greenpeace advisor on GMOs Eric Gall said in a statement.

All rights reserved. 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.

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Ithaca, NY (SPX) Jun 20, 2005
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