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BUSINESS: GM crops fail EU Lisbon Agenda goals

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  GM crops fail EU Lisbon Agenda goals
SOURCE: Friends of the Earth Europe, Belgium
AUTHOR: Press Release
DATE:   12.03.2007

GM crops fail EU Lisbon Agenda goals
New research says green farming more competitive

Brussels, March 12th 2007 - Environmentally-friendly farming will create
more jobs and make the EU more competitive than if it grows genetically
modified (GM) crops, shows new research published today by Friends of
the Earth Europe. The research coincides with the expected withdrawal
later today of a European Parliament Resolution that promotes GM crops.
MEPs are requesting that the text be rewritten because it attacks the
precautionary principle and ignores research showing that GM food and
farming has not lived up to expectations [1].

Helen Holder, European GMO campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said
"The genetic modification approach to farming is failing despite the
hype, public funding and political will. Greener farming stimulates the
economy, benefits the environment and the public loves it."

Today's report launched by Friends of the Earth Europe [2] highlights:

- A lack of official data on how badly the agri-biotechnology sector is
performing despite high levels of public funding and high political
priority in key EU areas such as Enterprise and Research. After 25 years
of public EU funding for research, only two GM traits have ever been
commercialised on any scale.

- Evidence of increased social cohesion, rapid growth and job creation
in the environmentally friendly farming and food sector, for example in
organics; compared with virtually no jobs, de-investment and lack of
profits by companies developing GM crops and foods.

- The sidelining of greener farming due to political support for GM
crops and foods, despite its better economic performance and
environmental credentials such as using less energy, less water and
fewer pesticides.

- The threat of economic damage to green farming and food production
from contamination by GM crops

The report comes as the EU is preparing new targets for biotechnology as
part of the mid-term review of its Biotech Strategy, which will be
adopted by the EU Competitiveness Council in June [3]. Friends of the
Earth Europe insists that it is economically unjustified to further
promote GM crops and foods and that this must be recognized in the
revised EU Biotech Strategy.

"If we want to develop a competitive and dynamic economy in Europe then
it would be wise to quietly shelve the idea of genetically modified
foods and put our political support and tax-payers money behind green
farming methods, which can deliver. Environmentally-friendly agriculture
is not only being sidelined in the doomed quest for a biotechnology
solution, it is even under threat due to the risks of contamination from
GM crops," Ms Holder added


[1] Resolution A6-0032/2007 "Biotechnology: Prospects and challenges for
agriculture in Europe", rapporteur: MEP Kyösti Virrankoski

[2] "The EU's Biotech Strategy: Mid-term review or mid-life crisis? A
scoping study on how European agricultural biotechnology will fail the
Lisbon objectives and on the socio-economic benefits of ecologically
compatible farming"
Friends of the Earth Europe, March 2007
Executive summary
Full report

[3] The EU Biotech Strategy was adopted in 2002:
The European Commission will issue its recommendations for the Mid Term
Review in April 2007 and conclusions will be adopted by the June 2007
Competitiveness Council.

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