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Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2000 13:26:04 +0100
From: "Helmut Weixler" <hweixler@europarl.eu.int>
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Subject: Press Release: Public Register for GMOs
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THE GREENS/EFA IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

PRESS RELEASE


Brussels, November 10, 2000


GMO Directive-Negotiations under Threat
=20
Socialists Refuse Public Access to GMO Data


Green/EFA Euro-MPs have expressed their anger at a change of attitude by =
their socialists colleagues after an all night debate between delegates of =
the European Parliament and of the Environment Council over the revision =
of the GMO Directive 90/220. They came together in an attempt to thrash =
out their differences over whether there should be a Public Register of =
the location of all commercial releases of GMOs,  as Parliament has =
demanded.

A Public Register would assist members of the public, including organic =
farmers threatened by genetic pollution to know whether their neighbours =
were growing approved GMO crops, what restrictions or controls were in =
force and it would help to pin-point responsibility for any environmental =
damage or unauthorised cultivation. Public access to data on the location =
of field trials is already mandatory.

In an almost unbelievable scenario, 13 out of the 15 member states want to =
support this idea whilst the Parliament's own delegation is getting cold =
feet. Under pressure from the agro-biotech industry, the Socialist =
Rapporteur David Bowe is now arguing that this demand is too burdensome =
and impractical and that MEPs did not really know what they were doing =
when they voted for it with an absolute majority of 315 votes in April =
this year.

Hiltrud Breyer MEP (Germany), the Greens/EFA delegate on the Conciliation =
Committee commenting after the negotiations were suspended for further =
reflection on both sides, said=20

"David Bowe appears to have forgotten that the amendment which was adopted =
by Parliament just over six months ago was actually presented in his name =
and virtually the whole of his Socialist Group supported it. Has he been =
persuaded to change his mind or is his memory failing him? A sizeable bloc =
of the Christian Democrats also voted for it including the Chair of the =
Environment Committee Caroline Jackson, who also appears to have changed =
her mind.

"With the exception of the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands, all the member =
states are in favour of this move to greater transparency and yet key =
players in the Parliament's delegation are trying to wriggle out of it. I =
hope that the French Presidency, who are co-chairing the negotiations, =
will maintain their pressure and force the Parliament to enact its own =
amendment."


***************************************************
Press Service of the Greens/EFA Group
in the European Parliament

Helmut Weixler (press officer)

phone: 0032-2-284.4683
fax: 0032-2-284.4944
mobile phone: 0032-75-67 13 40
e-mail: hweixler@europarl.eu.int
website: www.europarl.eu.int/greens-efa

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