BERLIN Aug 24 Germany has initiated a move to
stop the growing of genetically modified crops under new
European Union rules, documents seen by Reuters showed on
German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt has informed
German state governments of his intention to tell the EU that
Germany will make use of new "opt-out" rules to stop GMO crop
cultivation even if varieties have been approved by the EU, a
letter from the agriculture ministry seen by Reuters shows.
A new EU law approved in March cleared the way for new GMO
crops to be approved after years of previous deadlock. But the
law also gave individual countries the right to opt out by
banning GMO crops even after they have been approved as safe by
the European Commission.
Widely-grown in the Americas and Asia, GMO crops have
divided opinion in Europe. Britain is among those in favour of
them, while France and Germany are among those opposed.
Previously, when the EU approved crops as safe to produce
they had to be permitted for cultivation in all EU states.
In the letter, the ministry stressed that Schmidt is
continuing a previously-announced policy to keep a ban on GMOs
Under the new EU rules, countries have until Oct. 3, 2015,
to inform the Commission that they wish to opt out of new EU GMO
cultivation approvals, the ministry letter said.
Schmidt has asked German state authorities to say by Sept.
11 whether their region should be included in the opt-out, the
(Reporting by Hans-Edzard Busemann, writing by Michael Hogan,
editing by David Evans)