German politicians agree on GMO ban, but argue over regional or national framework

| | March 20, 2015
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Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt hopes to create a legislative framework that would cover cultivation bans on genetically modified plants, but leave them up to the regions. Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, meanwhile, is insisting on a national GMO ban. EurActiv Germany reports.

Barbara Hendricks has rejected a draft bill from Schmidt for regional cultivation bans on genetically modified plants.

The bill is just an initial working draft, Hendricks said in a statement to ZDF.

The Social Democrat is calling for a national ban on the cultivation of genetically modified crops. This is important, she said, to achieve legal certainty. “If we have a fragmented cultivation ban, we would have an incredibly high amount of legal disputes,” Hendricks pointed out.

While the EU has decided on general approval of genetically modified plants, it allows for individual member states to issue their own national bans. In this way, member states have the opportunity, through the Opt-out-Directive, to issue national cultivation bans or restrictions on genetically modified plants.

Schmidt’s draft bill plans to give the regional governments, or their appointed authorities, the power to issue cultivation bans or restrictions, not the federal government. The regions can act in a “considerably more appropriate and people-oriented” way with regard to specific local cultivation and environmental conditions.

A cultivation ban for the entire German territory would more quickly result in a violation of the principle of proportionality than region-specific bans issued by the regions, according to Schmidt’s plans. The more precisely an opt-out is oriented towards specific local conditions, the more likely it is to maintain proportionality and will therefore stand up in court, he argues.

Read full, original article: German government quarrels over GMO cultivation ban

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