Looks like Europe's most destructive and divisive politician - Tony Blair, whose Environment Minister was the only one to vote against all national GM bans - may soon gain an ally, if the German Union Party win the forthcoming election. GM supporters are certainly hoping that proves to be the case.
GM bill fails in German Parliament
By Cordula Tutt
Translated by Shelley Jambresic
Checkbiotech, 12 Jul 2005
BERLIN - The German Union Party announces liberal rules in case of an election victory.
After a long debate with the German Union-reigned states, the red-green German Government failed with its bill on genetic engineering. Party representatives from the German Parliaments were not able to agree on a compromise.
"The second bill on biotechnology will not pass," said a spokeswoman for Renate Kunast, Germany’s Consumer-protection Minister.
In fact, the government separated a part of the controversial bill on genetic engineering in agriculture, and passed it without the Federal Council. Since the Union and the FDP parties assessed the first part of the bill as a blockade on cultivation of GM plants, they refused to accept the second one. The second bill defines the rules on research and on renewable primary products.
"The blockade by the Union hurts White Biotechnology and thus harms the economy," said the State Secretary of Agriculture Alexander Muller. Now, Germany is at risk of an EU proceeding, carries notable penalties, because the guidelines for coexistence of conventional and genetically modified plants were not implemented in due time.
"We are overdue," admitted the spokeswoman for Minister Kunast.
An EU Directive has been in effect since 2002, and must be transposed into country law. However, the EU left some leeway as to how the rules are to be transposed at a national level.
Moreover, in Germany, there is further uncertainty for farmers and researchers, because the Union and the FDP already announced they will alter the bill in the event of an election victory.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, who in comparison with Minister Kunast, is considered a facilitator of genetic engineering, will hold a keynote address about science politics and stem cell research in Gottingen.
"The government is showing no willingness to compromise, for example, on the issue of liability," said Gerda Hasselfeld, the Vice-President of the German Union Party, who accused the Red-Green of an ideological attitude towards green biotechnology.
The first bill stated that should modified plants cross with neighbouring fields, the farmers growing GM crops would be liable for any damages.