GENET archive

[Index][Thread]

6-Regulation: European Commission dismisses Cyprus' law on displaying GE products seperately in supermarkets



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

TITLE:  Commission decides notification by Cyprus of law on the display
        of GMOs in supermarkets is non-admissible
SOURCE: European Commission, Midday Express
        http://europa.eu.int/rapid/showInformation.do?
pageName=middayExpress&guiLanguage=en
DATE:   15 Mar 2006

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


Commission decides notification by Cyprus of law on the display of GMOs
in supermarkets is non-admissible

News from the Press and Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Presse et
Communication

The European Commission has decided that the notification by the
government of Cyprus of draft legislation requiring genetically modified
(GM) foods to be displayed separately from non-GM foods in supermarkets
is non-admissible. The decision was taken on the grounds that the legal
base upon which the Cypriot authorities submitted the notification is
subject to certain conditions which do not apply in the case of this
draft legislation. In September 2005, the Cypriot authorities notified
the Commission of a draft law which would oblige supermarkets to place GM
foods on specially designated shelves, separate from non-GM foods. Cyprus
submitted the notification to the Commission under Article 95(5) of the
EC Treaty, which allows a Member State to introduce national legislation
which diverges from an EU harmonisation measure, under the specific
conditions provided by the Treaty. The Commission today decided that the
Cyprus notification could not be considered under Article 95(5), as such
conditions are not met. The Commission decision does not concern the
substance of the Cypriot notification, namely whether it concerns a
harmonised area of Community law, nor its compatibility with WTO rules or
general Treaty provisions.


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

TITLE:  EU Slaps Down Cyprus on Draft GMO Supermarket Law
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   16 Mar 2006

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


EU Slaps Down Cyprus on Draft GMO Supermarket Law

BRUSSELS - Cyprus earned a stinging rebuff from European Union
authorities on Wednesday for its bid to force supermarkets to display
genetically modified (GMO) food on separate shelves from traditional and
organic produce. Members of the Cypriot parliament floated the idea last
year and quickly incurred the wrath of the United States, the world's
leading GMO grower and exporter, which warned the assembly that its
proposed law could harm ties between the two countries.

The European Commission, which administers EU law on behalf of the bloc's
25 member countries, has now ruled that Cyprus' draft law is incompatible
with EU legislation.

The main problem, officials say, is technical. When it first notified
Brussels of its intentions, in September 2005, Cyprus used provisions in
an EU law that allow for national exemptions from EU rules for reasons of
environmental or public health.

"The decision was taken on the grounds that the legal base upon which the
Cypriot authorities submitted the notification is subject to certain
conditions which do not apply in the case of this draft legislation," the
Commission said in a statement.

But the decision did not concern the substance of the Cypriot
notification, it said. Cyprus may now resubmit its GMO bill using a
different legal basis, scrap the law or press ahead regardless and await
legal action from Brussels, officials say.

That last course of action would almost certainly raise the stakes with
Washington, which has already hinted at possible action against Cyprus at
the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In its letter sent to the Cypriot parliament last July, the United States
said the Cypriot draft law was "tantamount to a non-tariff barrier to
trade in biotech goods and as such is in violation of your (Cyprus')
obligations as a member of the WTO".

The EU has tough rules for labelling foods that contain GMOs. If
conventional food contains more than 0.9 percent of authorised GMOs, it
must be labelled as such across the bloc.


                                 PART III
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  EC rejects request to shelve GM foods separately
SOURCE: Food Navigator, France, by Lorraine Heller
        http://www.foodnavigator.com/news/ng.asp?n=66455-ec-gm-foods-gm-threat
DATE:   16 Mar 2006

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


EC rejects request to shelve GM foods separately

16/03/2006 - The European Commission has rejected a notification by
Cyprus that required genetically modified foods to be displayed
separately from non-GM foods in supermarkets.

The decision was taken on grounds that the legal base on which the
Cypriot authorities submitted the notification is subject to certain
conditions that do not apply in the case of this draft legislation, said
the Commission.

In September 2005, the Cyprus Parliament had notified the Commission of a
draft law that would require supermarkets to place GM foods on specially
designated shelves, separate from non-GM foods.

The bill highlights increasing concerns when it comes to protecting
consumer choice and public health in the face of what is perceived by
many as a GM threat.

The Cyprus government submitted the notification under Article 95(5) of
the EC Treaty, which allows a member state to introduce national
legislation that differs from harmonized EU rules, under certain conditions.

These exemptions must be based on new scientific evidence relating to the
protection of the environment or the working environment, on grounds of a
problem specific to that member state according to the Commission.

After a six month consultation period, the Commission yesterday announced
that evidence provided by the Cyprus authorities did not meet the
conditions of Article 95(5) and therefore was non-admissible.

However, the issue adds another building block in the wall erected by
member states that have not warmed easily to GM acceptance.

Indeed, just last month the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled that the
EU and six member states broke trade rules by barring entry to GM crops
and foods between June 1999 and August 2003.

And although Brussels again began authorising imports of GMOs in May
2004, only seven crops and foods were given the green light. Further bans
were imposed by France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Luxembourg and Greece.

In any case, the WTO ruling may prove more symbolic than effective, given
that the EU claims it has no ban on safe GM products. More importantly,
widespread consumer rejection of GM products will likely mean that the
technology remains untouchable for many manufacturers and retailers.

It is clear that member states still need to be convinced that
introducing genetically modified ingredients into food production is
acceptable. The Commission has asked EU members over ten times to vote on
authorising a GMO food or feed product, but in the large majority of
cases, there was no agreement or simple deadlock.



--
GENET
European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
news & information

phone....... +49-531-5168746
fax......... +49-531-5168747
email....... news(*)genet-info.org
skype....... hartmut_meyer
url......... www.genet-info.org


-----------------------------
   GENET-news mailing list
-----------------------------