GENET archive


6-Regulation: EC gets fed up with France and Germany on biotech law

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

TITLE:  EU Gets Fed Up With France, Germany on Biotech Law
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   16 Feb 2006

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

EU Gets Fed Up With France, Germany on Biotech Law

BRUSSELS - France and Germany may win only a small amount of leeway if
they fail to update national laws on genetically modified (GMO) foods and
crops on time next month, or risk legal action and hefty fines at
Europe's highest court.

After years of warnings to both countries to comply with EU law and
integrate an EU directive on the environmental release of GMO's into
their national statute books, Brussels has started to lose patience at
the lack of action in Paris and Berlin.

The directive, agreed by EU governments in 2001, regulates how GMO crops
may be grown and approved across the bloc and ranks as the EU's main law,
of around five, on biotech crops.

In December, France and Germany got a final order from the European
Commission, charged with administering EU law, to fall into line with GMO
policy in the rest of the European Union.

They are the last countries to do so, after Greece received a warning
last July that it had also failed to put the law, known as the Deliberate
Release directive, into its national statute book. All this should have
been done by October 2002.

"Since the case is so advanced, I think we'd probably give them a little
more time - and if they indicate that they are very close to adopting
this necessary law," one Commission official told Reuters.

After the Commission sends its final written warning, known as a reasoned
opinion, a period of two months begins for the member state concerned to
comply with EU law. France and Germany received reasoned opinions in mid-

But given the Commission's holiday break over Europe's Christmas and New
Year period, that deadline has been pushed back to early March, officials say.

"They would normally be required to come back to us, probably in early
March," the official said. "And if nothing happened, we would take the
next step and take them to court."

The warnings are the final chance for both countries to update their
legislation before the Commission becomes entitled to ask the European
Court of Justice (ECJ), the EU's highest court based in Luxembourg, to
impose financial penalties.

Germany had failed to adopt an additional law needed to integrate the EU
directive into its national statute book. France has only partially
integrated it and not specified when it will do the rest, despite
reminders, the Commission says.

Not only had the two countries failed to comply with an ECJ judgement
from 2004, they then proceeded to ignore warnings from Brussels, it said
in December.

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

TITLE:  French Farmers may have to pay for GM cultivation
SOURCE: Landwirtschaft, Switzerland, posted by Checkbiotech, Switzerland
        translated by Stephan Nyeki
DATE:   10 Feb 2006

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

French Farmers may have to pay for GM cultivation	

French farmers may have to pay for the cultivation of genetically
modified (GM) crops in the future. Up to 100 Euros per hectare will have
to be paid into a liability fund.

The fund will act as compensation for GM mixing, which exceeds the agreed
threshold of 0.9 % set by the EU. This was proposed in a preliminary
draft by the French Ministry of Research, reported the agriculture news
agency AIZ.

France intends to implement the EU environmental release guidelines with
this law. The country is under pressure after the EU commission
threatened it with penalty payments in December.

The liability fund will initially exist for five years, and an insurance
model is planned thereafter. The tax is controversial, among other
aspects, because seed producers do not have to contribute to the fund.

Left-wing EU Parliamentarians and environmental organizations have
criticized the preliminary draft, because it clears the way for the
commercial cultivation of genetically engineered crops in France.

Greenpeace commented that the burden would exclusively fall on the
farmers, while the food industry, seed producers and commerce would get
off scot-free.

Maize producers are also resisting these developments. "If farmers use
licensed seeds and adhere to cultivation regulations, they should not be
held responsible for any out-crossing," stressed the AGPM federation.

A legal provision for the co-existence of GM and non-GM crops is urgently
necessary, in the opinion of the French farm federation (FNSEA).

According to Agra-Europe, the FNSEA greeted the planned obligatory
registration of plots on which GM crops are grown. "This is very positive
with regard to transparency and credibility." The FNSEA also supports the
liability fund, however, the financial sum is under question.

The president of the right-wing Coordination Rurale farmers lobby,
Francois Lucas, was on the other hand furious about the draft. "It is
completely out of the ordinary that the farmer should be liable, if he
uses licensed seeds and fulfils cultivation requirements."


European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
In den Steinäckern 13
D - 38116 Braunschweig

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

   GENET-news mailing list