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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Press Release
Environment Council: National bans on marketing GMOs are upheld

Date of release : 24-06-2005

Policy area : Environment Environment

Event : Environment Council

The Environment Council met in Luxembourg on 24 June and was chaired by Lucien Lux, Luxembourg’s Minister for Environment.

The Council had a debate on the Commission’s proposal to lift national measures that ban the marketing of certain GMOs (genetically modified organisms). These measures are currently applied to three transgenic maize varieties and two transgenic rapeseed varieties by five Member States, including Luxembourg.

At the press conference, Lucien Lux stated that he was "very satisfied that all the proposals to lift the national bans were rejected by the qualified majority. With a view toward the subsidiary and precautionary principles, and given the uncertainties over lifting several of these bans, we are satisfied that we have sent a loud and clear message to the European Commission. Due to uncertainties over the risk GMOs pose for the environment and for health, the restrictive measures already in effect will remain in effect until there are more data on the subject."

As for marketing genetically modified maize, MON 863, the Council was unable to arrive at a qualified majority.

In response to a reporter’s question, who asked whether the French and Dutch rejections of the constitutional treaty were the result of not enough or too much environment in the treaty, Lucien Lux said: "I think these two no votes were certainly not because of the EU’s environmental policies. In every opinion poll there is considerable support for a strong environmental policy. Everyone is becoming aware of the fact that discussions with the other parties on the planet increase the necessity of having a strong and coherent European policy more than ever. Everyone agrees on that. There is indeed a strong wind which, coming from competitiveness, is blowing in another direction. But I think that, under the Luxembourg Presidency, the Ministers of the Environment have greater confidence in themselves." As Luxembourg’s Minister for the Environment, Lucien Lux made the following comment: "The fact that today we rejected the measure that aims to lift the national ban on certain genetically modified substances is a sign of solidarity. It is also a sign that Europe takes decisions that go against what people expect of it. This vote could cause a move in the scepticism that still exists in ecological circles toward a clear and massive yes for the constitutional treaty."

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This page was last modified on : 24-06-2005

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