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>>> a GMO mentes Magyarországért Beszámoló GREECE BANS 31 VARIETIES OF GM CORN
2006. február 08. szerda, 12:08
Greece on Monday extended its ban on a variety of genetically modified corn seed developed by the U.S. biotech giant Monsanto, despite an European Union order earlier this month for Athens to lift the initial ban.
Item 1

The Associated Press, January 30, 2006

Greece on Monday extended its ban on a variety of genetically modified corn seed developed by the U.S. biotech giant Monsanto, despite an European Union order earlier this month for Athens to lift the initial ban.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Alexandros Kondos signed a decision prohibiting the sale in Greece, over the next 18 months, of 31 strains of the MON810 seed type, an Agriculture Ministry announcement said.

This included 17 types listed in the initial ban, in April 2005.

"This decision has much stronger legal foundations than the earlier one, as it contains new scientific data and findings," the announcement said.

"It also draws attention to the need for authorities in each EU member-state to be given enough time to weigh the dangers inherent in growing genetically modified crops."

The European Commission ruled on Jan. 10 that Greece's initial prohibition of MON810 seed types was not warranted on health or safety grounds following the biotech seed's approval for sale across the EU in September 2004.

But the Agriculture Ministry said cultivation of the biotech seeds "poses an immediate threat to the environment," by disturbing biodiversity and spreading genetically modified pollen to traditional corn crops.

Monday's decision drew praise from Greek environmentalists.

"We applaud the fact that Greece remains a pioneer in the long struggle against genetically modified crops," said a joint statement by the local Greenpeace branch and other groups." (The decision) is in tune with the sensitivities of most Greek citizens."

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Greenpeace applauds Greek ban on GMO corn

The environmental group Greenpeace on Monday applauded Greece's decision to renew a ban on the sale and cultivation of genetically-modified corn seed, in defiance of a European Union ultimatum ordering Athens to lift the ban by January 10.

The Greek agriculture ministry on Monday announced that Deputy Agriculture Minister Alexandros Kontos had signed an decree banning the sale of genetically modified hybrid corn containing the MON810 genetic modification for another 18 months.

The government decree also extends the varieties of banned hybrids from 17 to 31 and has a firmer basis in law, since it includes all the latest scientific figures and findings that formed the basis for the decision to extend the ban.

Among these, the agricultural ministry cited scientific evidence that the MON810 genetic modification caused the following adverse effects:

- Development of high resistance among the most damaging insects infesting Greek corn and cotton crops

- Disruption of biodiversity among non-harmful and beneficial insects in the Greek countryside

- Heightened danger that genetically modified pollen will be transported to cultivations far from GM crop cultivations due to the high prevalence of bee-keeping in Greece and the relatively small size of holdings.

Stressing the need to fully and effectively implement the principles of protection and prevention, the ministry noted that each EU member-state must be given adequate time to assess the danger from the cultivation of GM crops so that they neither damage the environment nor necessitate modification of pre-existing agricultural practices in order to adapt to new conditions created by genetically modified crops.

The ministry also announced that it will inform European Commission services of its decision, providing the scientific findings on which it was based.

Kontos stressed, meanwhile, that "today's decision continues the government's unswerving policy for the non-cultivation of genetically modified varieties in Greece".

According to Greenpeace, the new ban by Greek authorities affects GM corn strains developed by Monsanto and another 14 new varieties that the European Commission "secretly" added to the European list on December 30, without informing the public.

"Greenpeace applauds the decision of the Greek government to remain steadfast in its position to protect the Greek environment and agriculture and condemns the European Commission for lack of transparency regarding its decisions for mutant products. The Commission should follow Greece's example in democracy and stop doing the dirty work of the U.S. biotechnology industry," an announcement by the environmental group said.

Noting that the risk from genetically modified corn had not been fully assessed, Greenpeace also pointed out that there were currently 12 bans on GM products in seven member-states that the EU had allowed to stand and criticised the Commission for its constant attempts to cover up decisions concerning GMOs and trying to promote these products, in spite of the reaction from European public opinion.

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