* German coalition still making decisions on GMO crop policy
* Minister wants opt-out clause on GMO crop cultivation
HAMBURG May 9 Germany's policy silence on GMO
crops still hangs over its near six-month old coalition, with
few signs of common ground between the ruling parties.
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks told German radio on
Friday there was no agreement on the issue between her SPD
party, which opposes crops with genetically-modified organisms
along with the southern conservative party CSU, and Chancellor
Angela Merkel's CDU, which favours them.
"Up to now we have not had a unified opinion about this in
the government," Hendricks told Hamburg-based radio station NDR
"But I believe we will see an opt-out rule which means that
each country in the EU can decide whether it wishes to allow use
of genetically-modified organisms in its own country which have
been approved by the EU," she said.
Germany's indecision is in contrast to France, where
parliament on Monday gave final approval to a law prohibiting
the cultivation of any variety of GMO maize.
Hendricks told the radio station she personally supports the
opt-out concept for GMO crop cultivation and would work with the
EU in Brussels to achieve it.
She said she believed the German government would also
eventually support an opt-out GMO crop policy.
Longstanding differences between EU countries on GMO policy
resurfaced in February when they failed to agree whether to
approve a GMO maize variety, Pioneer 1507, developed by DuPont
and Dow Chemical, leaving the way open to the EU Commission to
approve it for cultivation.
The debate on the future of GMO policy is continuing at EU
level, with Greece, which holds the rotating EU presidency,
working on a compromise with an opt-out that would allow
individual countries to ban such crops.
(Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by William Hardy)