Factbox: Details of EU proposals on GM crops

Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:16pm EDT

(Reuters) - EU environment ministers held talks on Monday on proposals to let member states decide individually whether or not to ban the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops, in a bid to unblock a paralysis in EU GM approvals.

The proposals include an amendment to EU rules on GM cultivation that would allow governments to ban cultivation of approved GM crops on social or economic grounds, such as public opposition or to safeguard organic farming.

Below are extracts from the proposals, which must now be approved by a majority of EU governments and lawmakers in order to become law:

PROPOSED LEGAL CHANGE TO EU RULES ON GM CROP CULTIVATION

* "The current EU legal framework fully harmonizes cultivation of GMOs. Experience however has shown that cultivation of GMOs is an issue which is more thoroughly addressed by Member States."

* "The proposal amends Directive 2001/18/EC by introducing a new article which allows member states to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of authorized GMOs in part or all of their territories."

* "The freedom which member states will obtain will only concern the act of GMO cultivation, but not the placing on the market and import of authorized GM seeds which must continue unimpeded."

* "The proposal stipulates that member states cannot invoke protection of health and environment to justify a national ban of cultivation of GMOs."

* "The measures taken by the member states have to be in conformity with the Treaty on the European Union ... in particular as regards the principle of non-discrimination between national and non-national products and the provisions on quantitative restrictions of trade between member states."

* "They should finally be consistent with the international obligations of the EU, and in particular with the one established under the World Trade Organization."

(Compiled by the Brussels newsroom)

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