Process Management

News 195 views last update:7 Aug 2012

France debates future of GMOs

In France a large scale, four month forum on environmental issues organised by the French government is aimed at defining national environmental policies on future regulations of GM crops.

It is very likely that the so-called "Grenelle de l'environnement", could change French agricultural policy.

A working group on GMOs has suggested new legislation oriented towards transparency and towards the freedom of choice for farmers and for consumers.

Such laws also would regulate coexistence more strictly and enact the 'causer' principle, under which users of GMOs retain ultimate responsibility for the control of their crops.

Uproar among farmers
Announcements of environment minister Jean-Louis Borloo considering even a ban on the usage of GM seeds had caused an outrage among farmers', seed producers' and grain processors' organisations. Yet, after their protests, this issue does not appear in the final working group proposals.

Further suggestions by the working group include increased research on biotechnology and its effects, as well as the establishment of an independent national advisory body.

French veto
New agricultural policies may exert influence even beyond French borders. French representatives to the Council of Ministers abstained from voting on the EU import approval of three GM maize lines in September, and French veto could hinder current negotiations on the extension of approval for MON810 maize.

MON810 is the only GM maize approved to date for cultivation in the EU.

During October, public consultations will take place in 15 cities throughout France and on the internet.

President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to announce by the end of October the government's conclusions on national positions and administrative plans regarding biotechnology.

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