15 May 2003
Breakthrough on environmental liability in European Parliament/Email your US Ambassador now
'Justifying its action at the WTO, the U.S. falsely asserts that GE crops will alleviate hunger. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, claims that "biotech food helps nourish the world's hungry population." In fact, most GE crops are used as cattle feed to produce meat for consumers in wealthy countries. Furthermore, the increased costs and risks associated with GE crops destroy livelihoods of poor farmers in the Third World.' (from item 3)
1.GMO TRADE WAR - take action
2.Breakthrough on environmental liability in European Parliament
3.Food First Denounces U.S. Suit in the World Trade Organization
4.Laurel and Hardy GM show blunders into EU
1.GMO TRADE WAR - take action
The US Government has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organisation regarding Europe's policy on genetically modified (GM) food. It follows heavy lobbying by big US-based biotechnology multinationals like Monsanto and the US farm lobby.
Friends of the Earth believes that it's just the latest Bush government-led attempt to bulldoze over other countries rights in the North and South to protect their people and the environment. Bush isn't likely to take notice of us alone - but perhaps he'll listen to his own people. Email your US Ambassador now Simply click on the link below and automatically email the US Ambassador in your country.http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/global_trade/press_for_change/email_us_embassy
2. Environmental Liability: Greens/EFA celebrate breakthrough on environmental liability
THE GREENS/EFA IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
PRESS RELEASE - Strasbourg 14 May 2003
The Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament today celebrated the endorsement of their firm stance on environmental liability by a clear majority vote in Strasbourg. A strongly improved proposal for a directive on environmental liability was adopted in the first reading by a 312:179 majority (27 abstentions) in the Strasbourg plenary.
Neil MacCormick MEP (EFA - Scotland) said after the vote: "Today is a good day for Europe and a good day for the environment.
"We have been succesful in extending the scope of the directive to include marine pollution as well as nuclear accidents (in so far as international conventions do not cover environmental damage). We have also been victorious in defeating the blanket exemptions for enterprises with a permit or those claiming to use state-of-the-art technologies that rapporteur Manders and the Conservatives badly wanted. This saves local authorities and taxpayers a lot of money.
"MEPs from the Green/EFA group joined with our colleagues from the Socialists, United Left and progressive Liberals to radically improve the poor text that the Legal Affairs committee had submitted to the plenary vote. All of the main points of the Greens/EFA group have been endorsed by a majority of MEPs, firmly strengthening the 'polluter pays' principle in the EU."
Hiltrud Breyer MEP (Greens - Germany) said: "After ten turbulent years, European environmental legislation has entered a new phase. The Greens/EFA are pleased about the adoption of compulsory insurance provisions to cover potential costs. The recent Prestige disaster has shown that existing financing systems are not sufficient to cover the costs of a major environmental disaster, and that public authorities often end up paying for the damage. We also welcome the request that the Commission comes forward quickly with additional legislation on the problem of coexistence with GMOs and resulting damages.
"The Commission must now approve this progressive legislation and help the Greek Presidency reach an agreement at the June Environmental Council. The ball is now in the Commission's and Council's court."
Press Service of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament
Head of Press Office
3. United States Tries to Force-Feed Europeans with Biotech Crops
Food First Denounces U.S. Suit in the World Trade Organization on European Moratorium on Biotech Crops
Food First: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, May 13, 2003
Contact: Nick Parker, (510) 654-4400, ext.229
(Oakland, CA)-Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy denounces desperate efforts by the United States to force Europeans to accept biotech crops by bringing a suit in the World Trade Organization.
"This is one more instance of the WTO being used to advance corporate interests at the expense of the public interest," said Anuradha Mittal, co-director of Food First.
In a statement released on May 13, the U.S. insists that biotech crops will "be a great benefit to farmers and consumers," ignoring that GE crops have been rejected by farmers and consumers around the world. Most industrialized countries have imposed strict regulations limiting their use. In the Third World, farm organizations have publicly come out against agricultural biotech, challenging their loss of control over seeds and food sovereignty, and the erosion of genetic diversity.
"This behavior reflects the United States' track record of disregarding public opinion," said Mittal. "As biotech crops and food were snuck onto our supermarket shelves, our regulatory agencies failed to inform Americans, turning us into guinea pigs in the largest field test in history. To date, no scientist can say with certainty that GE crops are safe." The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) spends only 1 percent of its biotech research budget on risk assessment. Instead, the U.S. regulatory agencies rely on information provided by biotech companies.
Justifying its action at the WTO, the U.S. falsely asserts that GE crops will alleviate hunger. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, claims that "biotech food helps nourish the world's hungry population." In fact, most GE crops are used as cattle feed to produce meat for consumers in wealthy countries.
Furthermore, the increased costs and risks associated with GE crops destroy livelihoods of poor farmers in the Third World.
"For proponents of GE foods these are dark times that have led Mr. Zoellick to resort to poor washing," said Mittal, "Poor washing involves a degree of official amnesia-forgetting that several Third World countries have outright rejected GM food aid from the U.S."
Food First lauds the European Union for upholding the health and safety of its citizens, for respecting public opinion, and calls for the U.S. to follow the European Union's lead by imposing an immediate moratorium on biotech crops in the U.S.
4.Laurel and Hardy GM show blunders into EU
Doop-be-doop, doop-be-doop..... Introducing Oliver 'Bush' Hardy, and Stan 'Zoellick" Laurel in their latest farce "Taking the EU to the WTO over GMOs"
[In a dark room somewhere in the White House 2003.....]
OLIVER BUSH: Hey Stan, how can we get those 'Old Europe' folks to like GMOs and reduce anti-Americanism over there at the same time?
STAN ZOELLICK: I've got a great idea... let's take the EU to the WTO over it.
[Later in another dark room, no longer in the White House 2005.....]
OLIVER BUSH: Another fine mess you've gotten me into, Stanley. You stupid idiot. The GM campaigners really made hay out of that WTO move and it spread resistance right across the globe. You've made as big a mess of GMOs as Cheney and Rumsfeld made of the Middle East. No wonder we're no longer in the White House.
STAN ZOELLICK: Hey 'Top Gun', it's you who's the idiot for surrounding yourself with people like us.
OLIVER BUSH: Well Tony Blair was willing to do business with you people....
STAN ZOELLICK: And look what happened to him....he sank with us...
OLIVER BUSH: Maybe it would have been OK if we hadn't tried dumping our GM market rejects on the Iraqis.....
Tearing Down Biotech's 'Berlin Wall'
The Acceptable Face Of Ag-biotech