GENET archive


9-Misc: Campaign for GM free zones and regions gathers force

                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Campaign for GM free zones and regions gathers force
SOURCE: Assembly of European Regions
DATE:   14 Sep 2004

------------------- archive: -------------------

Campaign for GM free zones and regions gathers force
Environmentalists and regional authorities launch joint initiative

Today the Assembly of European Regions (AER) and Friends of the Earth
Europe (FoE) have launched a joint long-term campaign that aims to
protect traditional crops and products from the consequences of the
introduction of new genetic technologies. Among other things the AER and
FoE will lobby together for a European legal framework on the coexistence
of traditional and transgenic crops, as well as for the legal recognition
of GMO-free zones and regions in Europe.

The AER and FOE call for a binding EU coexistence regulation, following
the example of the law that was recently adopted by the German
Parliament, with a clear definition of:
- biosafety measures such as separation distances between GM and non-GM
crops and a public register for GMOs;
- a liability scheme in the event that conventional and organic crops as
well as their seeds are contaminated by GMOs, on the basis of the
precautionary and polluter-pays principles;
- the right of Member States and regional authorities to prohibit or
restrict the use or sale of GMOs within the Common market if there is
evidence of an advanced risk of extensive dissemination or a negative
impact on the environment;
- legal provisions enabling the regions to define all or a part of their
territory as a GMO-free zone or region, without these decisions being
seen as an infringement to the Community principle of free movement of goods.

Klaus Klipp, Secretary General of the Assembly of European Regions said:
"Since 1999, nearly two thousand regional and local authorities across
Europe have declared themselves GMO-free areas, challenging the European
law on the Common market. They want to confront the risks of
contamination by GMOs and to protect their traditional and organic
agriculture, as well as their products of designated origin. Via this
joint initiative the AER aims to have the voice of the Regions heard at
the European level".

Geert Ritsema of Friends of the Earth said: "It is clear that
environmentalists and European regions have a common interest to protect
biodiversity, traditional and organic agriculture against the risks of
GMOs. And today the German law on coexistence give us a chance to respond
properly to GMO issue at European level".

Several Members of the European Parliament were present at today's press
conference, where the joint AER/FoE initiative was launched:

Mr. Janusz Wojciechowski, EEP, PL, Vice-President of Agriculture
Committee said: "Poland and other new EU Member states want to avoid the
errors that the old EU Member states made in the past in order to
preserve our traditional agriculture. We may produce less than them but
our food must be natural and consumer-friendly. Only such a policy can
help us to uphold small farms and maintain jobs in rural areas".

Mrs. Jillian Evans, Greens/EFA, UK, said: "What is happening at European
level since the Commission lifted the moratorium is additional proof that
the European Parliament, which adopted the resolution on coexistence
between GM and non-GM in December 2003, has not been heard once again. We
welcome the German Parliament's step forward on the issue, which opens
the way to a new approach of coexistence".

Created in 1985, the Assembly of European Regions (AER) is a political
organisation of regions in Europe and the speaker for their interests at
European and international level. It currently has 250 member regions
from 30 European countries and 12 interregional organisations. For
further information: www.a-e-r.or
 Contacts: Agnès Ciccarone, AER Regional Development Committee Executive
Secretary, Phone: +33 3 88 22 74 37; Email
Barbara Skoczylas-Thauront, Press and Communication Manager, Phone:
+33 3 88 22 74 46; Email

 Friends of the Earth is a Non Governmental Organisation and the widest
European network in the field of environment protection and sustainable
development They are the European branch of Friends of the Earth
International, which gathers 68 national member organisations and some
5000 local associations in the world. For further information:

FOE Europe contact:
Geert Ritsema, GMO Campaign Coordinator,
Phone: +32-2-542 0182, Mobile: +31-6-290 05 908; Email

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Call for EU Law on Gm-Free Zones
SOURCE: PA News, by Geoff Meade / The Scotsman, UK
DATE:   15 Sep 2004

------------------- archive: -------------------

Call for EU Law on Gm-Free Zones

New European laws were demanded today which would allow the Welsh
Assembly and the Scottish Parliament to declare GM-free zones regardless
of decisions taken at Westminster.

All regional authorities across the European Union should have the legal
right to decide whether or not to permit production of genetically
modified crops, said Welsh Euro-MP and Plaid Cymru deputy leader Jill Evans.

She was speaking in Strasbourg at the launch of a pan-European campaign
backed by Friends of the Earth.

SNP Euro-MP Ian Hudghton, also backing the campaign, said he supported
any move enabling the Scottish Executive to heed the public demand for a
GM-free Scotland.

The Welsh Assembly has already declared that it wants Wales to be GM-
free, but the Labour government has not acted to implement the decision,
said Ms Evans.

In Scotland, the authorities insist that current EU rules do not allow
them to declare Scotland as GM-free.

Since 1999, nearly 2,000 regional and local authorities across Europe
have declared themselves GM-free areas - many acting because of what they
claim is the slow response of their national governments to significant
public opposition to GM crops.

But their legal power to do so is currently unclear and Ms Evans said:
"It is absolutely vital that we establish a legal framework to enable the
Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament to heed the massive public
opposition to GM crops. It is clearly the democratic will of the Welsh
people that GM crops should not be grown in Wales."

She went on: "I am supporting this pan-European campaign that will give
so-called regional governments like those in Wales and Scotland a legal
framework on which to base local laws to outlaw GM crops in their territories.

"Consumers deserve the right to say no to GM-contaminated food and so do
farmers. We will be fighting to ensure that this right is defended."

Mr Hudghton commented: "For too long the Scottish Executive has been
hiding behind the lame excuse that European rules don't allow them to
keep Scotland GM-free. Their timidity on this issue has been disgraceful
- they've completely failed to stand up for Scotland.

"I'm delighted to support this campaign to enshrine in European law the
right of bodies such as the Scottish Parliament to keep their territories

The campaign has been organised by the Assembly of European Regions (AER)
and Friends of the Earth Europe (FoE).

As well as legal recognition for GM-free zones, they want laws on
"coexistence" between traditional and GM crops, effectively protecting
traditional production from potential contamination from the introduction
of new genetic technologies.


European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
Kleine Wiese 6
D - 38116 Braunschweig

P: +49-531-5168746
F: +49-531-5168747
M: +49-162-1054755
E: coordination(*)
W: <>

   GENET-news mailing list