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6 EU: Green Press Release on GMO Cotton Deadlock

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GMO Commercial Release Approvals Deadlocked

Put GMO Releases in the Freezer, Urges Green Group

Reacting to the news that the Commission has failed yet again to obtain the necessary endorsement from the Member States’ experts for commercial GMO approvals--this time for two varieties of Monsanto cotton--the Greens have renewed their demand for an immediate moratorium on GMO consents. 

The applications are for importation into the EU and/or cultivation in Greece and Spain and for processing into human and animal food ingredients. One variety contains the Bt insect toxin, one is resistant to Monsanto’s own RoundUp herbicide and both contain antibiotic-resistant marker genes (kanomycin and neomycin).
The two dossiers were rejected last week by the *Article 21* committee set up under the Directive 90/220 which regulates GMO releases. UK, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Denmark and Sweden are reported to have voted against the Commission’s recommended approval and France abstained. The issue now has to go before the Council of Environment Ministers, probably in June, together with at least two other disputed cases. No new marketing consents for GMO crops have been granted since April 1998.

Hiltrud Breyer MEP (Germany) said *The Commission and its scientific committees no longer command the confidence of the Member States and the approval procedure for GM crops is now deadlocked. The European Parliament last week voted overwhelmingly to take antibiotic-resistant genes out of circulation and also demanded an end to genetic pollution by cross-breeding. The only practical step now open to the Commission and the Council of Ministers is to agree a Moratorium on all commercial GMO releases. The Greens will demand a debate on this in the Parliament.*

Green MEP Paul Lannoye (Belgium) commented that *the Commission is now discredited and no longer performs in the public interest on GMOs. In the light of the multiple controversies over GMOs and genetically modified food, and the hostility of European citizens towards the use of genetic engineering in their food supply, we should put the whole package in the freezer, marked ‘not to be opened for 5 years’ whilst we find some sensible rules to operate by"

Steve Emmott
Advisor, Genetic Engineering
Green Group in the European Parliament
1047 Brussels

Tel/fax (00 32) (0) 2 284 2026
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