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Friday, 29 October 2010

EU ministers oppose GM rule change

A plan by the European Commission to allow member states to unilaterally restrict or authorise the cultivation of genetically modified crops in their own territory has been vehemently opposed by EU heavyweights France, Germany and Italy.“Let me be very clear, in France we refuse even to enter into this discussion,” said France’s Chantal Jouanno during talks between European Union environment ministers in Luxembourg last week.The German environment minister added the acceptance of GMs on a state-by-state basis would destroy the single market. While the UK remained quiet on the issue, deciding to focus on other policy objectives, the pro-GM Netherlands expressed its desire to push ahead with the proposals. It said new rules were needed to break the deadlock which meant only two GM crops had been authorised for commercial cultivation in Europe in over 10 years, with more than 10 more awaiting approval. Meanwhile an online petition, driven by Greenpeace to oppose all commercial cultivation of GM crops, has gathered more than one million signatures. With the one million mark crossed EU Health Commissioner John Dalli, who wants to water down the EU’s tough stance on GM crops, is duty bound to consider the petition under the 2009 Lisbon Treaty.