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EU Commission asks Governments for Clarification on GMOMoratorium

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IP/99/512 Commission Press Release
Brussels, 15 July 1999 
At the Environmental Council on June 24-25, France supported by some other delegations, put forward a declaration calling for a suspension of GMO approvals. European Commissioner for the environment, Ritt Bjerregaard has now written to the concerned Member States to get a clear picture of their intentions with regard to the GMO-dossiers these same Member States have submitted for approval. In particular the Commission would be interested in any intentions to withdraw pending notifications. 
The Commission agrees fully with the Member States about the need to put in place a more transparent framework and to restore public and market confidence in genetically modified organisms (GMO). However, the general suspension of new - or existing - authorisations does not appear to be a practical way forward; the Commission has a clear legal obligation to pursue the procedures set out in the Directive. 
Having regard to the declaration, Commissioner Bjerregaard asks the Member States in question to "indicate the approach your government intends to adopt to these pending notifications, and to any new applications which may be received, and what repercussions you consider will follow. In particular, I would be interested to know whether and when you intend to consult the notifiers with a view to withdrawing the notification." 
The Commission further recognises that the declaration put forward by France also underlined the importance that Member States attach to the Commission presenting without delay rules for ensuring labelling and traceability of GMO's and derived products. To help the Commission respond to this request, Commissioner Bjerregaard asks Member States concerned to provide full details of their position, and in particular of any specific changes they may wish to see to decision 97/35/CE (adopted on 18 June 1997) on GMO labelling. 

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

Tel +32 2 284 2026
Fax +32 2 284 2026

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