Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

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03.03.2009 |

EU upholds Austria, Hungary right to ban GM crops

Green groups, along with Germany’s Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel, were unimpressed with the Commission’s fruitless attempts to force Austria and Hungary to end their GMO bans. ”I cannot imagine that a US government would be so engaged for a European company if its citizens were that much concerned, as the Commission is engaged for an American company,” Gabriel told a news conference.

02.03.2009 |

EU upholds Austria, Hungary right to ban GM crops

EU environment ministers gave a stinging rebuff to the European Commission on Monday and upheld the sovereign right of Austria and Hungary to ban growing of genetically modified (GM) maize, the EU presidency said. The Commission, the EU’s executive arm, had wanted the ministers to order both countries to lift the bans within 20 days. EU law provides for national GMO bans under certain circumstances if the government can justify the prohibition. It was the third time the Commission had tried to get Austria’s bans lifted and the second for Hungary.

26.02.2009 |

Pressure mounts on national GM bans in the EU

This will be the second time Hungary’s GM ban has gone to the vote. In February 2007, national ministers reached a qualified majority against the European Commission’s decision to force Hungary to repeal its ban. But Europe’s hostility to biotechnology risks a further trade conflict with the US, which could even target anti-GM countries with retaliatory trade action. Sharon Bomer from BIO, a US association of bio-industries, said that the US had ”lost” its corn market in the EU because of the bans.

24.02.2009 |

Luxembourg, European Capital, declared ”GMO-free City”

The city of Luxembourg, a European capital, has declared itself a ”GMO-free city” along with two thirds of the local city communes, thereby refusing the release of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) on its lands and in its funded food catering services. The GM-free Luxembourg intitative is a coalition of 25 civil society organisations which founded and launched the ”GM-free Luxembourg” campaign in the summer of 2006. Since then, two thirds of the Communes [local authorities] declared themselves ”GM-free Communes”.

23.02.2009 |

EU prepares for battle over growing GM maize crops

European Union biotech experts will discuss next week whether to allow more cultivation of genetically modified crops but little progress is expected to break years of EU deadlock on biotechnology. Two GM maize types are to be considered at the Wednesday meeting. If the experts fail to agree, which officials and diplomats say is the most likely outcome, both applications will be escalated to EU ministers for a decision.

23.02.2009 |

German Minister for Environment supports calls for GMO maize ban

Germany should reconsider its policy of permitting farmers to grow maize with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and consider banning biotech crops, Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Friday. Gabriel is the second minister to raise a change of GMO policy this week, following Farm Minister Ilse Aigner’s statement she may review permission to grow MON 810 GMO maize, developed by U.S. biotech group Monsanto Co..

23.02.2009 |

EC Fails to Lift GM Maize Bans in France, Greece

French and Grecian fields will remain free of genetically modified (GM) crops for the time being after the European Commission (EC) failed in its bid to force the two countries to lift their controversial bans. The bans targets MON810, an insect-resistant strain of maize manufactured by GM heavyweight Monsanto. It is currently the only GM crop approved for planting in the EU.

19.02.2009 |

Aigner auf der BioFach 2009
Aktion gegen Gentechnik auf der BioFach 2009 (Photo:SaveOurSeeds)

GMO-free Europe needs Germany

At the opening ceremony of the Biofach organic trade faire in Nuremberg organic farmers from France, Austria, Hungary and Greece petitioned German Minister of Agriculture Ilse Aigner to vote against an EU Commission proposal to force the countries to lift their ban on the cultivation of the genetically modified maize line Mon 810.

In her opening speech, Aigner criticized the cultivation of Mon 810 and announced that she would prohibit further cultivation should monitoring requirements not be met.

Aigner would not make any binding statements as to how Germany will vote in the upcoming EU Council of Ministers meeting on March 2nd that will decide on the national bans.

18.02.2009 |

Location of GE crop trials must be released to public, European Court says

The EU’s highest legal body, the European Court of Justice, has ruled that the public must have access to information about location of genetically modified crops. It’s the latest decision on a very controversial issue. [...] ”The right of public access to information applies to releases of genetically modified organisms,” the ECJ said in its decision. ”The information relating to the location of the release can in no case be kept confidential.”

17.02.2009 |

Biotech industry signals new effort to win EU acceptance for GE crops

The biotechnology industry, claiming the backing of European Union governments, signaled a new effort Monday to win greater leeway to grow genetically modified crops in Europe, a region where citizens have long been skeptical about the safety and value of the technology. [...] Biotechnology industry executives say that a bigger vote expected next week could lead to two additional engineered corn seeds being given permission to be marketed in the EU by year-end.

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