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You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2000 / biotech_eu_dirty_montreal


25 january 2000

eu does dirty deeds in montreal

eurpoean union undermines developing countires in world gmo safety talks

Friends of the Earth, the world’s largest network of environment groups, has today blamed the European Union (EU) for not supporting consumers and developing countries from genetically modified foods and crops. Friends of the Earth has accused the EU of "doing America’s dirty work" to prevent a strong Biosafety Protocol in crucial negotiations on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Protocol, being negotiated in Montreal, Canada, is aimed at setting international safety rules for the trade in GM foods and crops. Without a strong Protocol, existing free trade rules are likely to force countries to accept genetically modified (GM) foods despite growing consumer and environmental concerns.

The EU’s position, instead of supporting the strong position of the developing countries, is in danger of seriously weakening any safety rules on GMO’s. In particular, they threaten to water down:
… the precautionary principle which allows countries to block GM foods or crops if they believe there is a risk to their environment or health. This could lead to trade wars between countries such as the US who is keen export GM foods and seeds.     
… the actual scope of the Protocol itself which would lead to the Protocol being unable to cope with future developments in GM technology.

By not supporting developing countries EU is playing into the hands of countries such as the United States who were behind the collapse of the negotiations last year. Ministers from up to twelve EU countries will arrive in Montreal tomorrow (Wednesday) in a last ditch effort to form a strong Protocol. Liana Stupples of Friends of the Earth said: "The action of the European Union is not good enough. They must come out fighting for the right to protect our environment and support proposals for wide-ranging comprehensive and tough international rules. We need a Protocol fit for the new Millennium and not one fit for the past. There is still plenty to be fought for and it may now need the input from politicians to save these talks."  



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