EU support for Austrian GM bans falters

Commission gains power to adopt legal order after Vienna fails to win enough support

The European commission has failed again to win ministerial backing for a legal order requiring Austria to overturn national bans on two EU-approved genetically modified maize varieties. But in a new turn at Tuesday's environment council in Luxembourg, ministers also failed to explicitly reject the order, opening the way for the commission to adopt it unilaterally as EU policy.

Ministers had twice earlier rejected commission attempts to act against Austria (EED 19/12/06 and EED 27/06/05). On both occasions Austria was supported by otherwise pro-GM member states which objected to the commission's efforts to pursue Vienna. For the third vote the commission softened its proposed order: it now calls for Austria to lifts only its bans on import and processing of the GM maizes, not on cultivation.

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