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EU says GMO petition premature

The European Commission says that the petition for a moratorium on genetically modified crops is not valid under the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) because the rules are not yet in place. Environmentalist group Greenpeace issued the petition last year, claiming it as a first for the ECI, which obligates the Commission to study any proposal that has the support of more than 1 million EU citizens ( Agrow No 602, p 13). It was delivered to EU Health and Consumers Commissioner John Dalli in December. The ECI was introduced under the Lisbon Treaty, but the Regulation on procedures was only agreed by EU Ministers and the European Parliament in December. It will be implemented one year after it comes into force. Signatures collected prior to this cannot be used later, the Commission says. Nevertheless, Mr Dalli says that he will “look seriously” at the request. He points out that his latest GM crop proposals (see this issue) would allow decisions on cultivation to be taken at national level.

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