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12 April 2000

Press release
Parliament Votes on Revision of GMO Directive 90/220
EP Abandons its Commitments to the Environment.

Strasbourg, 12 April 2000

EP Abandons its Commitments to the Environment

On each of the key points voted today, the Christian Democrats combined with sufficient members of the Socialists and the Liberals to defeat all progressive amendments to the Bowe Report on the revision of the GMO Directive 90/220. The Parliament effectively abandoned the positions it had taken last year by throwing out the texts re-adopted in the Environment Committee for the second reading.

Hiltrud Breyer MEP (Germany), speaking after the vote, said "This abandonment of responsibility ensures that if the Parliament enters into conciliation negotiations with the Council of Ministers, its pockets will be empty. On the issue of civil liability for environmental damage, a long-standing Parliamentary demand, MEPs have opted to wait for a Commission proposal which will take at least five years to draft, legislate and implement. In the meantime we have nothing. The whole package is really a poisoned present to the industry because it will do nothing to reduce public mistrust and will in fact increase the pressure for local initiatives to keep out GMOs."

For Paul Lannoye MEP (Belgium), co-president of the Greens/EFA Group, the result was a grave disappointment. "The large number of MEPs who failed to support the well-reasoned amendments on the major issues have demonstrated today their total lack of courage. When given a clear opportunity to take a stand in favour of a ban on antibiotic-resistant marker genes, for example, they elected simply to repeat the Council line that we should aim to phase them out over the next 5 years. What sort of political leadership is that?"

"We have placed ourselves in the ridiculous position that our views are apparently weaker than those of the Council" commented Marie-Anne Isler-Beguin MEP (France). "I just hope that any conciliation negotiations will take place under the French presidency, where the Green Environment Minister will be able to restore some perspective to the precautionary principle and the protection of our environment."

Irish Green MEP, Patricia McKenna said "On the very controversial issue of genetic contamination by gene transfer from GMOs to conventional and organic crops, the best the big Parliamentary groups could manage was to say that we should be careful! The whole Directive is supposed to be about being careful so what does this add? We have seen today an almost complete capitulation to the demands of the bio-industry at the expense of public safety and environmental pollution."

Communiqué de presse, en français


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