Austria supported over modified maize ban

Sweden, Denmark request delay in EU committee vote, call on ministers to abstain

The Swedish and Danish environment ministers, Anna Lindh and Svend Auken, today promised further trouble for the EU's tortured policy on GMOs, by calling on the European Commission and fellow ministers to postpone a vote on Austria's ban on a genetically modified maize. Austria banned the maize in February, claiming a risk of transfer in the environment of genes it carries for ampicillin antibiotic resistance and the "Bt" bacterial insecticide (ENDS Daily 6 February). Earlier this month, the Commission circulated draft letters directing Austria and Luxembourg - which has also banned the maize - to reverse their decisions. An EU committee is due to vote on the issue next Wednesday. "We have no environmental or health arguments that would justify a 'no' to the Commission's proposal, head of the Danish Environmental Protection Agency John Baek Sørensen told ENDS Daily today. "On the other hand, it should be clear that when a member state has great problems with a GMO, we should not force [it] to accept the GMO." "This time it is Austria and Luxembourg...Next time it may be Germany and Switzerland."

Follow Up:
Swedish environment ministry, tel: +46 8 405 1000; Danish environment ministry, tel: +45 33 92 76 00.

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