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7-Misc: Greenpeace demands ministers to stop GE crops



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Greenpeace demands ministers to stop GE crops

Luxembourg, June 24, 1999 -- Greenpeace urged European
Environment Ministers to ban genetically engineered (GE) crops that
threaten among others European butterflies. Greenpeace activists dressed
as butterflies unfurled a banner "Give Butterflies a Chance; Stop GenetiX
Crops" in Luxembourg this morning as the Ministers gathered for the
EU's Environment Council meeting.

"Ministers must prevent the commercial growing of GE crops now," said
Louise Gale, Greenpeace political advisor. "This is the only serious and
precautionary position EU ministers can take at this meeting."

A declaration introduced to the meeting by Greece would ban the market
approval of new GMOs until the directive 90/220/EEC, which regulates
the release of GMOs into the environment is revised. So far, Italy, France
and Luxembourg have announced they would sign the Greek declaration.

"As there is a general agreement that the previous directive was a failure,
it would be utterly inappropriate to approve any GMO releases under this
old legislation," said Gale. "We expect the Ministers to thoroughly revise
the directive to meet the clear demands of the European public, scientists,
consumers, environmentalists, and also increasing number of European
governments."

Greenpeace also urged the EU not to cave in to political pressure from
the USA and other grain exporting countries to weaken a Biosafety
Protocol presently negotiated under the international Biodiversity
Convention.  Negotiations on the agreement collapsed in Colombia in
February this year as the US, Canada and Argentina insisted to drop all
environmental precautions from the Protocol. "As EU governments are
expressing concerns about their own environment, they should also enable
countries in the developing world to protect their biodiversity and their
citizens from genetic pollution," said Gale.

Greenpeace published last week a list of more than 100 European
butterfly species that could be threatened by the toxic pollen of so called
Bt-maize. The maize has been genetically engineered to produce a toxin
from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. It is already grown in small
quantities in Spain and Germany. A recent Cornell University study
showed that 44 percent of American Monarch butterfly larvae fed with Bt-
 maize pollen died within 48 hours.

Note to the editors:
Pictures of the today's action are available at the Greenpeace
International Picture Desk, +31.205249 580
The list of the butterfly species possibly threatened by Bt pollen in
Europe
is available at the Greenpeace International web site:
www.greenpeace.org/~geneng

For further information in Luxembourg:
Louise Gale, Greenpeace Political Advisor, Tel: +32-75-286544
Martina Holbach, Greenpeace campaigner, +352.021.23 33 62
Susanne Fromwald, Greenpeace campaigner, +43.664.490 4986
In Amsterdam: Mika Railo, Greenpeace International Press Desk,
+31.20.5249 548,                mobile +31.6.535 04 722



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