Brussels, 05 Mar 2003
At a meeting of the Environment Council in Brussels on 4 March, the Commission told EU environment ministers that a decision on new authorisations of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is not expected before autumn 2003.
The announcement came after the Commission had informed the Council that 19 applications for new GMO products are currently being considered, ten for cultivation purposes and nine for other uses.
In the debate that followed, a number of Member State representatives expressed their opposition to the granting of new authorisations before regulations on GMO food and feed, and traceability and labelling become law. Germany, France, Greece, Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria have all expressed a similar position in the past.
Some delegations, however, stated that the entry into force of a directive covering the deliberate release of GMOs into the environment provides a sufficient legal framework to proceed with authorisations.
President of the Council, Greek Environment Minister Vasso Papandreou, called upon Member States to proceed as quickly as possible with the transposition of this directive into national law.
The Commission also informed the Council that it expects to publish communications on the coexistence of GM and non-GM crops and on the life sciences and technology in the EU on 5 March
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