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EC denies it is blocking cultivation of GM crops.

The European Commission denied rumors that it is actively blocking the cultivation of GM crops in Europe. A story appeared in Monday's edition of the Belgian daily Le Soir suggesting it had acquired a Commission briefing note saying that demands by multinationals to cultivate GM crops would be frozen until the EU had adopted new Community legislation on the question of co-existence between GM and non-GM crops.

However, a spokesperson for the Commission said that this was not the case and that its position was the same as always. "There are 25,000 employees at the Commission which means a lot of notes and e-mails, there was perhaps an e-mail suggesting we should think a bit more about co-existence, but that's it," she said. "There is not a blocking policy."

The Commission is due to submit a report by the end of this year on co-existence. This will be followed by a conference in Austria at which Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel will discuss the question, and a decision will then be taken on whether more needs to be done to guard against the possible cross-fertilization of GM and non-GM crops.

The article in Le Soir appeared after the EU once again failed to come to a decision on the authorization of GMOs, choosing to defer a decision on the use of Pioneer's GM maize '1507' in food. Once again, no qualified majority could be mustered either for or against, and so the same issue will now have to be resolved by EU agriculture ministers. Member States last month offered a hung vote both on the use of Pioneer's 1507 maize as an animal feed, and on Monsanto's request for its GMO maize MON 863 to be allowed to be used as an ingredient in processed and derived food. Under EU rules, the Commission must approve authorization requests in such cases, assuming the relevant scientific bodies have raised no objections.
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Title Annotation:European Commission
Publication:Food & Drink Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Jun 13, 2005
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