Germany: failure of draft bill banning GMOs
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The controversial draft bill on banning the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture has failed. The coalition partners in the federal government – the SPD and the CDU/CSU - could not reach a consensus. Critics say no law is better than a bad law.
The German Parliament was not able to find a way of remedying the shortcomings in the draft presented by Minister of Agriculture Schmidt. The SPD accused the CDU/CSU of refusing to make amendments to the bill and both sides decided not to proceed.
No GMO legislation by the back door
Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein, the chair of the organic umbrella organisation German Federation of the Organic Food Industry, maintained that the decision of the SPD to start the legislative procedure again after the federal election to the Bundestag in September this year was the right one. “The 40,000 organic farmers and organic food manufacturers in Germany are legally bound not to use genetic engineering. Currently, because there is no liability in keeping with the 'polluter-pays principle', precisely those people find themselves responsible for the consequential costs of genetic engineering who don't want it in their food.” He says it is now the responsibility of the next federal government to come up with legislation – as permitted under EU law - to ensure that genetic engineering in farming is banned across the whole of Germany, thereby protecting consumers from risk and more expensive food.
In a press release the spokespersons of The Green Party put the failure of the draft bill down to the incompetence of the federal government. For them, failure is better than the GMO hotchpotch hanging over them and the introduction of new GMO legislation by the back door. They claimed they had revealed the weaknesses in the draft and that the Green Party had a proposal for banning GMOs at federal level that was acceptable by the people and parliament.
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