GENTECH archive 8.96-97


Euro parliament anti-GE maize resolution text

Here is the text of the European Parliament's Resolution voted today.
The vote was 407 in favour, 2 against, and 19 abstentions.

This was a joint resolution proposed by all the major European
political parties: the Party of European Socialists, European People's
Party, Union for Europe, European Liberal Democrat and Reformist
Party, Green Group, European Radical Alliance:


The European Parliament,

having regard to Council Directive 90/220/EEC on the deliberate
release into the environment of genetically modified organisms;

having regard to decision by the Commission of 18 December 1996 to
authorise the placing on the market of genetically modified maize
notified by Ciba Geigy in accordance with Council Directive 90/220/EEC
(O.J. N.L/31 of 1/2/97);

noting the conclusions drawn up by the three Scientific Committees
(the Scientific Committee on Food, the Scientific Committee on Animal
Nutrition and the Scientific Committee for Pesticides) which have been
consulted by the Commission on the issue;

having regard to its resolutions on biosafety and food security of

having regard to the adoption of a European Parliament and Council
Regulation on novel foods and novel food ingredients, which is due to
come into effect shortly (adopted by Parliament in January);

having taken note of the statement made by the Commission on Friday 21
January 1996

A. Whereas the national competent authorities could not agree to
approve this application ; whereas the Commission decision has been
reached although a large majority of Member States (13 out of 15)
oppose the placing on the market of this maize;

B. whereas the minutes of the Commission discussions on 18 December
1996 disclose alarming evidence that economic and commercial pressures
were put before considerations of public health and protection of the

C. whereas there is considerable concern among consumers as regards
genetically modified products; whereas consumer confidence has already
suffered due to the BSE crisis;

D. whereas the European Parliament and Council Regulation on novel
foods and novel food ingredients, which will contain certain
provisions about labelling of genetically modified foodstuffs has not
yet come into force;

E. whereas there still remain serious doubts about the safety of the
genetically modified maize now authorized for placing on the
market; recalling the refusal of the Regulatory Committee created by
Directive 90/220 to authorise the marketing of GMO maize on the one
hand, and the conclusions of the Scientific Committee for Food on the
risks of transmission to man of a tracer gene resistant to 
antibiotics, on the other;

F. whereas there is further scientific evidence which does not appear
to have been taken into account by the Commission and its advisers;

G. whereas no detailed studies have yet been carried out into the
long-term effects on genetic manipulation;

H. whereas the imports of transgenic maize place European producers 
in an exremely disadvantageous competitive position and force them 
to use seed based on Genetically Modified Organisms ;

I. whereas large scale use of the Bt Toxin raises environmental

J. whereas the resistance of the Maize to pesticides may have the 
long term effect of increasing use of those very pesticides ;

1. reiterates its position that food safety and thus the health of
consumers must be paramount to all decisions regarding the placing on
the market of foodstuffs; considers that transparency for consumers
must be guaranteed;

2. regrets that trade considerations have obviously dominated
the decision making process so far; strongly requests that food 
safety and health considerations should have priority in the 

3. regrets, further, the fact that the current rules of the WTO 
oblige importing countries to prove that a product, is harmfull, 
rather than requiring the exporter to demonstrate that it is safe, 
thereby emphasising that commercial considerations take presidence 
in decision making.

4. calls on the Commission to publish the complete 
findings of the three scientific committees which guided its 
decision and the names of the experts consulted;

5. condemns the lack of responsibility of the Commission which took
the decision, unilaterally, to authorise the marketing of GMO maize in
spite of all the negative positions of most Member States and the
European Parliament and before the coming into effect of the European
Parliament and Council Regulation on novel foods and novel food

6. notes that certain member states of the European Union 
such as Austria and Luxembourg have taken measures to prohibit the 
placing on the market of genetically modified maize by applying 
Article 16 of Directive 90/220/EEC and that the notifications 
forwarded by these countries contain new scientific evidence which 
will justify their decision and which will be examined thoroughly by 
the Commission and their appropriate committees;

7. deplores particularly the fact that the Commission did not take
sufficient account of the precautionary principle with regard to the
health of consumers, the protection of the environment and the
concerns of producers; deplores also the absence of clear and precise
information as regards the reasons why the Commission took such a
decision which has implication for each and every EU citizen;

8. demands therefore that the authorisation procedure  be
reopened and the authorisation suspended until the reassessment has
been completed; 

9. questions the validity of the cooperation and consultation 
procedures at inter-service level within the commission;

10. demands that the procedures to authorise the marketing of GMO
products be revised so they correctly reflect the democratically
expressed opinions of the Member States and the European Parliament;

11. is of the opinion that the way this genetically-modified maize has
been examined and authorised proves once again that the existing
comitology procedures need to be reexamined and confirms its position
that this should be done in the context of the IGC 96; invites Member
States to draw the appropriate conclusions regarding the necessary
revision of the Comitology system;

12. instruscts its President to forward this resolution to the 
Council, the Commission and the Governments and Parliaments of the 
Member States of the European Union.

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