A Milestone in Hungarian Agriculture

fidusz Génpiszka Ked, 2009-02-24 18:11

Friday afternoon, civil society– and farmers’ organisations and politicians held a demonstration to keep Hungary GMO-free. Whilst, the city of Luxembourg – one of the three capitals of the European Union – declared that it is joining the European network of GMO-free towns and regions, the European Commission has prompted Hungary, France, Greece and Austria to lift their moratorium on GM crops. Today the Environmental Committee and the Agriculture Committee of the Hungarian Parliament - unanimously - approved a resolution at a joint meeting confirming its support for the Hungarian ban on Mon810 maize.

The European Council is meeting on 2nd March, to vote on the proposal to sanction the cultivation of MON810 genetically modified (GM) maize. Accordingly, the objective of today’s action is to draw attention to the fact that, should the Council fail to reject the latter by a qualified majority, Hungary’s agriculture will be put in serious danger.

The Hungarian decision to prohibit the cultivation MON810 GM maize was reinforced through an overwhelming majority at the meeting of the Ministers for Environmental Protection from EU member states exactly two years ago.

However, the European Commission on 21st January, 2009., once again placed the GM moratorium on the agenda of the Council and proposing Hungary to suspend the safeguard clause.

It is interesting to note that not only politicians find the lift of the ban on GMOs dangerous seeing that 71% of the population categorically reject genetically modified food. Numerous studies support the fears of local consumers, which tend to emphasise the negative consumption effects on human reproductive ability.

The demonstrators in front of the Embassy of the Czech Republic have despatched representatives to every single EU foreign representation in Budapest with the request to vote against the Commission’s proposal at the European Council meeting on 2nd March.

“We appeal to the Ministers for Environmental Protection to support Hungary in its relentless pursuit to maintain the prohibition of MON810, thus defending the sovereignty of respective countries to decide what they wish to plant and what they wish to eat! Support us so that we do not have to suffer the economic consequences, as well as the degradation of our natural heritage and the irrevocable genetic contamination of our planting seeds!” – said Balázs Tömöri, Greenpeace GMO campaigner. “Hungarian agriculture has arrived at a milestone: The European Union may impose upon us genetically modified maize!” – emphasised the activist.

“Genetically modified crops merely benefit to biotech corporations, which acquire huge revenues from ever more expensive seeds and increased pesticide use. Now, they want to force feed us with GMOs not wanted in Europe.” – added Róbert Fidrich, the Programme Coordinator of MTVSZ/Friends of the Earth Hungary.

According to Sándor Orosz, the vice-chair of the Parliament’s Environment Commitee, present at the demonstration, the Socialist-led government is dedicated to a maintain the ban on the cultivation of GM maize. Similarly, it will do everything possible so that the member states support Hungary again again. These efforts are assisted by both national and European parliamentary socialist representatives.

“The prohibition of the cultivation of the MON810 genetically modified maize was supported by a Parliament Resolution in November 2006 – as a rare example where all the five political parties voted for a proposal with consensus. In my opinion, it equally reflects the opinion of the vast majority of society. In terms of the economy, it is our fundamental interest to maintain Hungary’s GMO-free status as it is the only way to realise our agricultural potential on the European market.” – strengthened Béla Bagi, FIDESZ parliamentary representative and an active member of the Parliament’s Agricultural Committee.

In early spring, both the Hungarian and the Austrian GM moratorium are voted on the same day and subsequently, decisions regarding the French and Greek prohibition of MON810 are set to follow in June.

Last but not least, whilst the licensing of GM crops is currently under review, it appears that the European Commission is desperate to impose GM crops on every country with an active prohibition. It would probably kill european corn borer, but the this insect does not even cause much damage to crops in Hungary.

* * *

Today the Environmental Committee and the Agriculture Committee of the Hungarian Parliament - unanimously - approved a resolution at a joint meeting confirming the previos parliament resolution approved in October 2006 which was suppporting the Hungarian ban on Mon810.

The full text of the resolution can be read (in Hungarian) at

http://lmv.hu/genfront_OGY_mg-kved_biz_hataroza_090224

So both the Friday demonstration both the today's resolution shows that there is a national consensus in Hungary to keep the moratorium. We still need your support!

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