[fyeg_gen-l] Fwd: European Greens on GMO contamination

FYEG FYEG at europarl.eu.int
Mon Mar 3 16:18:40 CET 2003


THE GREENS/EUROPEAN FREE ALLIANCE 
IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

PRESS RELEASE - Brussels, 3 March 2003

Protection of conventional and organic crops needed:
MEPs call for European legislation on GMO contamination

Green/EFA Members of Parliament have today expressed great concern that the EU Commission is not doing enough to protect conventional and organic crops from GMO contamination. In an unpublished draft Communication from Agriculture Commissioner Fischler on the "Co-existence of genetically modified, conventional and organic crops", the Commission wants to leave legislation on this issue to the Member States contenting itself with co-ordinating and advisory functions. 

The communication, to be discussed tomorrow by the Environment Council and on Wednesday by the college of Commissioners,  addresses the problem of GMO contamination, i.e. the admixture of GM crops and non-GM crops resulting from cross-pollination, seed impurities and other phenomena or practices.

Hiltrud Breyer MEP (Greens/Germany) said:

"We do welcome the Commission's initiative to address the problem of GMO contamination. However, Mr. Fischler's communication does not give us reason to be very optimistic about the measures the Commission envisages. GMO contamination poses a threat not only to the consumers' freedom of choice but, as the Commission's Communication on Life Sciences rightly states, may also threaten sustainability and diversity of agriculture in Europe. The Communication argues nonetheless that the burden of co-existence measures, such as buffer zones or pollen barriers, "should fall on the economic operators (farmers, seed suppliers, etc.) who intend to gain a benefit from the specific cultivation model they have chosen". This approach would turn the "polluter pays" principle upside down. Conventional and organic farmers producing for the vast majority of European consumers who reject GM food would be responsible for the prevention of GMO contamination, not the producers and users of GMOs. The polluted instead of the polluter would end up having to pay and once again the consumer would be the looser." 

Jill Evans MEP (Plaid Cymru - the Party of Wales, Wales) said:

"We urge Member States and the Commission to go for strict Community legislation on co-existence. The legislation should require producers and users of GMOs to take effective measures to prevent the unintended presence of their GMOs in other products. This, in fact, is what the European Parliament proposed back in July last year when it adopted very clear and precise amendments to the proposed Regulation on genetically modified food and feed. The Commission and the Council which have so far rejected these amendments should seriously reconsider them in the light of the new co-existence debate. Once it has been established that producers and users of GMOs have joint responsibility to prevent GMO contamination, it will also become clear that those who cause GMO contamination are liable for any resulting damage."

Please find attached a background briefing, which you can also find on our website www.greens-efa.org. The Commission's draft communication is available at request.


***************************************************
Press Service of the Greens/EFA Group
in the European Parliament

Helmut Weixler
Head of Press Office


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