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[genet-news] POLICY & REGULATION: German Chancellor Merkel calls for calmer debate on GMO crops



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:  MERKEL CALLS FOR CALMER DEBATE ON GMO CROPS

SOURCE: Reuters, UK

AUTHOR: Andreas Moeser & Michael Hogan

URL:    http://uk.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUKTRE53N2PD20090424

DATE:   24.04.2009

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MERKEL CALLS FOR CALMER DEBATE ON GMO CROPS

HAMBURG (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday warned against too much immediate hostility to crops containing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).

There must be an open political discussion about the risks and concerns about biotechnology, but the political level should not immediately give way to objections, she said at an event in Berlin.

German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner this month banned cultivation and sale of GMO maize of type MON 810 produced by U.S. seed giant Monanto.

Aigner also said on Thursday she would make a new review of an application for open air trial cultivation of the GMO potato Amflora developed by German group BASF.

The application is being made for tests only, not for commercial plantings.

Merkel said on Friday many millions of euros had been invested in developing such crops as the Amflora potato in the hope that field trials could be made.

?This fact cannot simply be ignored because currently sentiment is hostile,? Merkel said.

Merkel stressed the ban on the MON 810 GMO maize was an individual decision.

She said her own conservative CDU party should remain open to biotechnology which in future could become a key feature of agriculture.

Gemany?s GMO maize ban has also been controversial inside Germany?s ruling government coalition as there are fears it could damage Germany as a location for scientific development.

Germany?s Research Minister Annette Schavan on Tuesday called a round table meeting into the future of GMO crops.

?We must take the fear of new technology seriously but the debate cannot be left to fear only,? Schavan said on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Andreas Moeser and Michael Hogan; editing by James Jukwey)



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:  MONSANTO FILES SUIT AGAINST CULTIVATION BAN FOR GENETICALLY MODIFIED MAIZE MON810

SOURCE: GMO-Compass, Germany

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/news/435.docu.html

DATE:   23.04.2009

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MONSANTO FILES SUIT AGAINST CULTIVATION BAN FOR GENETICALLY MODIFIED MAIZE MON810

(23 April 2009) The American agricultural company Monsanto has filed a suit against the cultivation ban for the GM maize MON810. The ban was declared by Ilse Aigner, Minister for Agriculture, whose CSU party apparently now also advocates the prohibition of field trials with genetically modified potatoes.

As stated by a spokesperson for Monsanto, the concern already has submitted a complaint to the administrative court in Braunschweig. The concern expects a decision by mid-May, at which point the sowing of maize still would be possible. Monsanto stated the following: ?We are convinced that the reasons that have led to the decision by Minister Aigner are not suitable to cast doubt upon the safety of the product.?

Meanwhile, political pressure appears to be increasing in the CSU on Minister Aigner to declare further prohibitions for genetically modified plants. As reported by the AFP news agency, the Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer has called for a ban on the planting of the Amflora potato developed by BASF. This potato displays a modified starch composition and is used exclusively for the delivery of industrial starch. Its cultivation in the EU has not been allowed to date but, after a renewed safety assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), EU Member States are expected shortly to vote on its approval.

In recent years, large-scale field trials of Amflora have been conducted in several federal states in Germany. These trials were authorised according to the regulations of the genetic engineering law. This year, BASF has registered field trials on an area of 40 hectares. It remains unclear upon which legal basis a ban could be declared as demanded by Seehofer. Apparently, Minister Aigner already has acknowledged that a ban on Amflora would be significantly more difficult to effect than was the case with MON810 maize.

On the initiative of the Federal Minister for Research, Annette Schavan, a ?round table? on the topic of green gene technology will take place in Berlin on May 20th, 2009. ?All affected parties should come together, including associations, companies, science representatives, non-governmental organisations and churches,? stated Minister Schavan during a visit to the German Association of Farmers. The round table will serve as the initiation of an extended process of dialogue. Minister Schavan spoke frankly: ?With regard to future technologies as well as to green gene technology, the issues include not only questions on research policy but also a debate on values that will have far-reaching consequences - and I will be leading this debate.?

See also on GMO-Compass:

GM starch potatoes: controversy over authorisation intensifying (December 9, 2008)

http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/news/408.gm_starch_potatoes_controversy_over_authorisation_intensifying.html

GMO Database: the Amflora potato (EH92-527-1)

http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/gmo/db/17.docu.html

Further information:

Federal Minister for Research, Annette Schavan, assembles round table: ?Wertedebatte zur Grünen Gentechnik muss geführt werden? (Press Release 21.04.2009, German language)

http://www.bmbf.de/press/2521.php

Bioscientists protest against maize ban ? VBIO President Balling: Politik zerstört mutwillig Zukunftsoptionen (Press release 20.04.2009, German language)

http://www.idw-online.de/pages/de/news310895


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