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2-plants: VICTORY in Greece

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Brussels / Athens 01/04/1999 -- Greenpeace International today welcomed 
the initiative of the Greek government for a European wide moratorium 
of all commercial releases of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) 
and of any trade in genetically engineered seeds.

The initiative was released yesterday by the deputy minister for the 
environment Theodoros Koliopanos in Athens. Koliopanos also announced 
that all experimental plantings of GMOs presently pending in Greece 
have been rejected. (1)

"This is another strong voice for precaution", said Greenpeace 
Internationals genetic engineering expert Benedikt Haerlin, "and it 
is a clear signal against the genetic contamination of Europe." 
Haerlin welcomed Kolliopanos' announcement that Greece will seek to 
form an alliance with like-minded European governments to at least 
block any further approvals of GMOs.

At the next meeting of Environmental Ministers on June 24/25th the 
revision of the European Directive on the deliberate release of GMOs 
(90/220) is expected to be discussed.

"We call upon member states, especially the German Presidency, to take 
swift action to stop further releases of GMOs in Europe as this 
appears to be the consensus of a great majority of member states, and 
as all European Institutions agree that the present regulations of 
Directive 90/220 are no longer adequate" said Haerlin.

Presently the only member state of the European Union where commercial 
releases of GMOs have taken place is Spain. According to the Swiss 
multinational Novartis, around 20.000 hectares of their antibiotic 
resistant and insect killing Bt-Maize had been planted there last 
year. Novartis announced it will try to sell GMO maize ain in Spain 
and Germany this year. Planting of the same maize had been banned in 
France last year. The maize is also banned in Austria and Luxembourg. 
In Great Britain a voluntary agreement seems to prevent any 
commercial releases and a similar agreement as been reached in 
For further information:
Thomas Schweiger, Greenpeace EU Unit, +32 2 2801400
Nikos Charalambidis, Greenpeace Greece, +30 1 380 63 74
Benedikt Haerlin, Greenpeace International, +49 30 30889912
(1) The field trails blocked by the ministry refer to two GE sugarbeet 
varieties (Novartis, AgrEvo), four cotton varieties (3 Monsanto, 1 
Rhone-Poulenc) and one maize variety (Monsanto).
Thomas Schweiger
EU GMO Advisor
Greenpeace International European Unit
37, Rue de la Tourelle
B-1040 Brussels
Tel: +32-2-280 14 00
Fax: +32-2-230 84 13
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