6-Regulation: Transboundary GE-free zone planned for Austria, Italy and Slovenia
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-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------
TITLE: GE-free organic zone
SOURCE: Der Standard, Austria, by Elisabeth Steiner
German text at http://derstandard.at/Textversion/Spezial/
DATE: Oct 25, 2002
------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------
GE-free organic zone
Carinthia (Austria), Friaul-Julisch-Venice (Italy) and Slovenia plan to
create a common GE-free zone for their organic agricultural products. A
transboundary "Bioregion" with a common brand and a "tri-region-market"
should be built up by 2006.
Klagenfurt - Carinthia's Councillor for Agriculture Georg Wurmitzer and his
collegue Danilo Narduzzi from Friaul-Julisch-Venice have signed an
agreement to create a transboundary organic region - which is expected to
grow. The Republic of Slovenia should be integrated just after its
accession to the EU. The responsible Slovenian Minister, Franc But has
already agreed to participate in the project.
In 2002, Carinthia is going to ratify a State Law, that bans the planting
of GE crops and the keeping of GE animals. It is expected that the decision
will be met with resistance from the EU GE-lobby: "Organic food and GE
animals and crops are mutually exclusive," Carinthia's Councillor for
Agriculture Georg Wurmitzer says, his collegue Narduzzi adds: "A GE-free
zone is a prerequisite for a common organic region."
The merger of the three regions into one organic region is obvious, because
they all have a similarly-structured agriculture. It is hoped that the
evasion of the EU-directives on genetically manipulated crops and seeds
will foster a Europe-wide marketing of the region's agricultural products.
Wurmitzer: "We regard our project as active lobbying for GE-free food
production in Europe and we want to play the role of pioneers."
A further aspect of the project aims at the maintainance of typical rural
specialities of the regions as the Gailtal mountain cheese or the air-dried
Karst ham. "This is a great opportunity for many family farms to stay on
the market with such fine niche products." An already existing
interregional project between Carinthia, Styria and Slovenia could also be
Meanwhile, the basic requirements for the GE-free tri-region organic zone
have been checked by scientists, agronomists, retailers and the
agricultural chambers of the regions. Agronomic working groups have been
formed, which develop quality standards for the main topics "tri-regional
delicacies", organic agriculture, rural holidays and agronomic education
Waiting for the EU accession
The laws and regulations for a transboundary free flow of commodities have
to be harmonized. "It is necessray that first of all Slovenia acceeds to
the EU," said Wurmitzer. He is convinced that this will happen in 2004.
Through the Interreg-III-A-programme of Italy and Austria 8,839,670 million
Euros are available for Carinthia until 2006. One half is EU money, the
other half comes from the Federal and State governments and private
parties. 25,5 million Euros are available for transboundary projects
between Carinthia and Slovenia.
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