October 1, 2003
EU Urges Lifting Of Ban On GM Crops
Franz Fischler, the EU farm commissioner, has urged EU member states to lift their five-year suspension on GM crops which is currently being challenged on legal grounds by the US and other WTO members. The EC hopes to abolish it before an eventual WTO ruling.
The Commission hoped that new EU laws about labelling and traceability of GMOs would lead to a lifting of the suspension. But Austria and Luxembourg have declared their opposition to GM authorisation, saying that EU-wide rules on the co-existence of conventional, biological and GM farming have to first be in place.
The Commission wants such rules to be established at a national level, to prevent delaying a lifting of the moratorium any further.
Austria has claimed it has German support for its demand that EU-wide rules be established before GMOs are permitted.
But representatives from the Commission have said that Austria has not managed to gain broad support and that the lifting of the moratorium will not be delayed.