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Co-existence of GMOs (Extract from: Outcome of Agriculture Council of May 2003)

Brussels, 27 May 2003

The Council held a debate on the co-existence of genetically modified, conventional and organic crops. Commissioner Fischler gave an update of the Commission's work.

"Only authorised GMOs will be grown in the European Union. All aspects related to environmental or health concerns are already dealt with in the authorisation procedure for GMOs. Therefore, what remains to be addressed, are the economic impacts related to the cultivation of GMOs. These are linked to additional farm management measures that may be necessary to keep admixture to a minimum, monitoring costs and, in cases where admixture above the threshold level occurs, potential losses due to a decline in the value of the crop.

Before implementing any measures for co-existence it is important to know what the facts are. For these reasons, the Commission organised a Roundtable on co-existence on 24 April. One of the most important conclusions of the Roundtable was that there is no unique set of measures for co-existence that is applicable across the whole EU. Any approach to co-existence has to take account of the vast diversity in farm structures, dominant crop types, climatic conditions and other regional and local production factors.

The expert opinion expressed at the Roundtable thus supported the Commission's view, namely that the best solution would be for Member States to take the initiative and develop and implement measures for co-existence according to their national or regional needs and circumstances. The Commission will support this process. I announced already at the Roundtable that the Commission will bring forward guidelines for the development of national and regional strategies to address co-existence before summer", Fischler declared.

DN: MEMO/03/117 Date: 27/05/2003

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