Hi dear friends in the USA!
>I guess the great news from our side of the lake have
>somehow, by now. However, since there is even a lot of
>here, as to what was actually decided, I thought a little
>Last week Thursday and Friday, the EU Environment Council
>that is the 15 Environment ministers from each EU Member
>They decided 2 very important things:
>+ Their draft for the new GMO-law (directive 90/220) which
>+ a de-facto MORATORIUM on new approvals for GMOs until
>law comes into force (propably 2002 or even later,
>the European Parliament).
>Since the moratorium is not officialy called as such, and
>some governments - especially the UK - go into great pains
>say there is no such thing as a moratorium, it is
>understand that each GMO-approval is subject to a vote by
>Member States, with each country having a different number
>votes. In order to approve a GMO a 2/3 majority is needed.
>thus a "blocking minority" of 26 votes: if 26 votes are
>approval the GMO is not approved (at least for the time
>During the Council FRANCE, ITALY, GREECE, LUXEMBOURG
>and DENMARK signed a "Declaration of Suspention", saying
>they will not approve any new marketing of GMOs - together
>have 30 votes, thus more that the necessary blocking
>They can now prevent any new approval on EU level. This is
>In addition they also will not authorise any new field
trials in their
>A second declaration, signed by most other countries, is
>but amoiunts to a political declaration of the same
content: no new
>GMOs untilthe new law is implemented.
>The actual texts are attached.
>On 90/220 the Common Position (Draft Law) has been adopted
>includes the following good provisions:
>1) precautionary principle is in the objectives (Article
>2) ethical consideration are in the directive
>3) labelling requirement and traceability requirements are
>GMOs (and products derived from GMOs) and are a
>well for approvals under other (vertical) product
>4) so called (differentiated) or simplified or fast track
> process for market applications are OUT, are not possible
>5) implicit consent (meaning consent without active
>approval by government) are NOT possible.
>6) first market approval for a GMO is granted for maximum
of 10 (!)
>7) antibiotic resistance genes must be phased out and
>risk assesment need special scrutiny (amounts to a
>80 much stronger risk assessment, including indirect and
>These points are a major step forward, and are actually
>the European Parliaments First Reading from February.
>However, the Common Position fails to include the
>(Note: most of the points below the European Parliament
>so these aspect will be re-debated in December, when the
>Parliament considers the text again)!
> I) clear definition of GMOs to include as well rPlasmids
>II) requirement for export consent / PIC, export of GMOs
>allowed after consent from importing state
>IV) socio-economic impact assessment
>FYI and fun, here's a little account of what happened in
>Luxembourg last week on the way to the moratorium.
>It is 5.45 a.m and after a looong day and a moratorium on
>unique political thriller has just come to a happy end:
>1. we have a fairly good Common Position on 90/220
>2. a de-facto moratorium has been established
>(3. the two points above will help for the biosafety,
>decision taken at Council was bad.)
>But to get there was a roller-coaster night on yes and nos
>yesses.... And after the initial happiness on Thursday
>the press statements going out, we actually thought for
>come we had lost the Moratorium again!! This is a brief
>what happened with the moratorium this night.
>Thursday morning: ariving Ministers are being welcomed by
>(Greenpeace) Butterflies cheering or booing them according
>Thursday 3.30 p.m. Trittin (German minister and president
>Council) & Bjerregaard (EU Environment Commissioner) state
>the press briefing that the Council has agreed as
>measure to stop all new authorisation for placing on to
>of GMOs until the revised 90/220 is in place.
>Thursday 10.30 pm Trittin distributes a written statement
>clarification that no decision has been taken by the
Council of the
>moratorium, and that the interpreters had made a mistake.
>he said was that the Council is considering and looking
>of stopping new authorisation, but that there was no legal
>Thursday 11.00 pm we hear that 6 countries are in favour
>moratorium, 6 are opposed to it, 3 say nothing.
>Soon after midnight it is announced that the moratorium
>of the Directive 90/220 decision will be taken by the
Council within 3
>Friday 3.30 am the draft political statement on moratorium
>revision is leaked. Moratorium still undecided. One strong
>one weak one.
>Friday 4.30 am we are told informally that we are likely
to loose the
>moratorium, and that only France is blocking the adoption
>Common Position on the revision of 90/220 and insists on
>Friday 5.20 am TOTAL VICTORY!!! We got the moratorium
>THANKS to FRANCE, and a fairly good 90/220 revision. Only
>negative point:Biosafety (they adopted the Cartagena
>The way the moratorium, which no-one wants to call a
>is achieved is that FRANCE, DENMARK, GREECE, ITALY and
>LUXEMBOURG have signed a DECLARATION OF SUSPENSION
>OF NEW AUTHORISATIONS OF GMOs. The declaration says that
>these countries will not approve any new GMOs
>BOTH FOR FIELD TRIALS AND MARKETING until a new
>framework is in place - there is no linkage to 90/220
>actually want more than just 90/220. This declaration
>blocking minority in the Art.-21-votes, and is basically
>Inistiative with French wording!.
>In addition there is a SECOND declaration, proposed by
>apparently (we haven't seen it yet) signed by GERMANY,
>BELGIUM, NETHERLANDS, SWEDEN and FINLAND, which is
>sort of a political bla bla with the effect that they too
>propably not approve new marketing - but it does not
>The UK is the bad one, Meacher being a real a... hasn't
>anything! Neither have IRL (due to their ongoing public
>PORTUGAL and SPAIN.
>To have two individual declarations, and not even all
>on, is highly ununsual!
>EU GMO Advisor
>Greenpeace International European Unit
>37, Rue de la Tourelle
>Tel: +32-2-280 14 00
>Fax: +32-2-230 84 13
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