GENET archive


REGULATION: The Bulgarian GMO law remains restrictive

                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Bulgaria rekindles domestic GMO v organic farming debate
SOURCE: Dnevnik, Bulgaria
DATE:   13.03.2007

Bulgaria rekindles domestic GMO v organic farming debate

A group of experts put together by the environment ministry is
discussing the possible watering down of Bulgaria's prohibitive GMO Act,
said local eco NGOs.

A likely loosening of anti-GMO rules was announced on Sunday by deputy
environment minister Yordan Dardov although the ministry on Monday said
his statement was misreported by the media.

The environment ministry said it is working on a twinning project aimed
at determining the degree to which local legislation complies with EU law.

The EU does not have a common anti-GMO policy but a set of rules which
should be enforced by member states.

The NGOs are worried that the most important bans concerning the use of
GMO within protected tracts and in the vicinity of organic farms may be

Five Bulgarian municipalities - Satovcha, Banite, Ivailovgrad, Kardjali
and Zlataritsa, have declared themselves GMO-free territories.

Ivailo Popov, member of the eco ministry expert group, said the EU eco
experts have recommended that instead of imposing a general GMO ban,
Bulgaria should introduce a risk assessment approach on a case-to-case
basis. This way, anyone interested in growing GMO would be subject to a
licensing regime.

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                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  The Bulgarian GMO law remains restrictive
SOURCE: AGROLINK Association, Bulgaria
AUTHOR: Press Release
DATE:   20.03.2007

The Bulgarian GMO law remains restrictive

"There is no necessity of amendments in GMO Law [1] at this point". This
was the conclusion reached on an informal meeting by representatives of
the Parliamentarian Environmental Committee, the Minister of environment
and his political cabinet. The Bulgarian law is not in conflict with the
European legislation, it is even more restrictive. Only if the European
Commission comes up with a explicit position about policy change we will
consider this issue. Until now the regulations did not cause serious
contradictions with the practice, said George Bozhinov, Chair of the
standing committee on environment.

This meeting was a result of the public campaign run by AGROLINK
Association and other NGOs working for informing the public about the
dangers related to GMO. On March 12, 2007 AGROLINK organized a press-
conference on the topic, together with a group of French farmers and NGO
representatives who work on GMO issues.

Svetla Nikolova, Chair of AGROLINK Association and a member of the
Working group for GMO amendment in the Ministry of Environment said:
"Priority should be on sustainable agriculture, a modern form of
agriculture with a future for farmers, communities, consumers,
biodiversity and environment. The potential amendments to the Bulgarian
GMO law which make it more liberal would bring problems in agricultural
products' marketing and reduction of biodiversity."

The GMO law was adopted by the National assembly in 2005 after heated
debates and pressure on behalf of GMO free Bulgaria Coalition.

The law states that:
- The deliberate release into the environment and the placing on the
market of the following GMOs is hereby prohibited: tobacco, vine,
cotton, damask rose, wheat, and all vegetable and orchard crops.
- The deliberate release of any GMOs into the areas included in the
National Ecological Network within the meaning given by the Biological
Diversity Act, as well as into the adjoining areas within a zone of 30
kilometers around any such areas, is hereby prohibited.
- The deliberate release into the environment and the placing on the
market of any GMOs containing antibiotic resistance marker genes is
hereby prohibited.

All these bans are criticized by some representative of the government
coalition and the strong lobby of biotech companies in Bulgaria. The law
amendments were initiated by the Ministry of Environment as a result of
a report produced within a Twinning project, in which experts of
Ministries for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection of Germany and
Bulgarian Ministry of Environment participate [2].

[1] GMO Act

[2] PHARE-Project BG04/IB/EN/02 ?Transposition and Implementation of the
Environmental Acquis on GMOs at National Level"

AGROLINK's mission is to promote sustainable agriculture, to coordinate
national organic farmers' network, to support protection of the
environment and the implementation of sustainable development principles

Svetla Nikolova
AGROLINK Association
50, Yanko Sakazov blvd
1504 Sofia
Phone + 359 2 846 6675
Fax: + 359 2 943 1511

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