GENTECH archive 8.96-97


European Parliament demands rejection of GE maize (corn)

Follows is a Greenpeace press release.   I will post the text of 
the resolution in a separate message.


BRUSSELS, April 8, 1997-- Greenpeace today called on the European
Commission  to listen to  the European Parliament and stop
sacrificing human health and environmental safety in Europe in
favour of US trade pressure on genetically engineered (GE) maize
and to immediately withdraw its authorisation of the GE maize and
GE soya beans. 

The European Parliament today roundly condemned the Commission
for its 18 December authorisation of genetically altered maize
and demanded that the Commission suspend approval of genetically
engineered maize.  The resolution was passed with
407 votes in favour, 2 against and 19 abstentions, and was almost
unprecedented in its use of strong language, condemning the
Commission for its lack of responsibility in taking a unilateral
decision to authorise the maize,  despite the fact that only one
of 15 member states supported it. [13 voted against, one

Indeed US trade pressures on the EU approval process were
specifically cited by EU Commissioner Emma Bonino,  as revealed
in January, in leaked minutes of an EU Commission meeting to
approve the genetically altered maize. She said that "...I
nevertheless regret that the Commission had to take a decision on
an issue about which the public feels so strongly, under pressure
and urged on because of the import of considerable stocks of
maize from the US..."

Meanwhile the United States continues to step up pressure on
Europe to stop any push for segregation of genetically altered
grains from natural grains. The US has called a meeting with
European trade officials to discuss EU regulations and labelling
for genetically altered food products, to be held in Washington
on April 17-18 [1].   

"The Commission has totally failed to consider Europe's health
and environment in favour of US trade pressure to increase the
profits of agro-chemical companies making millions out of genetic
engineering.  MEPs have today voted on one of the strongest
resolutions yet seen in the Parliament and Greenpeace applauds
them for it.  It's time to stop this genetic nightmare," said
Louise Gale of Greenpeace's EU Unit.

In the case of the genetically manipulated maize, Austria,
Luxembourg and Italy have invoked a previously unused national
caveat on European Commission decisions in this area, known as
Article 16,  which allows EU states to temporarily ban the
imports or use of GMOs.  France,  the original sponsor of the
genetically altered maize has now banned its planting in France
although paradoxically the French government allows the import of
food products made from genetically altered corn.

In another development Austrians began voting in a national
referendum yesterday on whether to ban environmental releases of
genetically manipulated organisms  along with a ban on
genetically manipulated food in that country.  The referendum is
being held in an atmosphere of high level public interest in the
issue,  where polling shows that 75-86% of Austrians object to
genetically manipulated organisms in food and agricultural
products.  The results will be announced on April 14.  
Greenpeace Austria today dumped a ton of GE soyabeans at the US 
embassy with a banner saying "Return to Sender", in protest at 
the US's forcing genetically engineered products onto the 

* Louise Gale at the Greenpeace European Unit,  ++32 2 280 1400 
* Cindy Baxter or Isabelle Meister, Greenpeace International 
++31 20 523 6279. 

NOTES [1]  US Department of Agriculture official  Timothy Galvin
told Reuters on March 14 said: "hopefully, the meetings will
allow us to obtain direct answers in some of the issues that seem
to have pushed EU regulatory policy out of focus" 

[2]  Europe is almost totally on imported soyabeans, much  of 
which comes from the USA and so is genetically contaminated, 
but produces almost all its maize requirement.

Peter Morris, GE Campaigner, Greenpeace Int, Amsterdam
voice: +31 20 5249529   email:

Peter Morris, GE Campaigner, Greenpeace Int, Amsterdam
voice: +31 20 5249529   email: