Seeking an edge

Published: Monday 15 May 2000

while urging the European parliament to approve legislation on genetically modified (gm) products, European Union's (eu) environment commissioner Margot Wallstrm asked it to reject proposals to put environmental liability on biotechnology companies.

Addressing the European parliament before a vote on modified products, she pointed out that the eu, whose approval of gm organisms had been deadlocked for two years, urgently required a new framework to decide on licensing norms. The commissioner was, however, firm in her stance that any amendment that entailed explicit liability for gm contamination was "unacceptable." She reasoned that the issue of liability for environmental contamination by modified organisms had already been addressed in the legislation drafted by the European Commission. "I can assure you that I will do my utmost to be able to present this new legislation before the end of next year," Wallstrm said.

She also criticised two other amendments, one that require member nations to prevent genetic pollution and the other to ban antibiotic resistant marker genes used in some gm products.

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