[img_assist|nid=168|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]On 27 November 2005, the majority of the Swiss population voted in favour of a 5-year moratorium for commercial cultivation of genetically engineered plants and animals. The moratorium does not apply for research into GMOs, nor does it stop import of GMO-food or feed.
This moratorium is an important step in a global opposition against GM crops because it shows that a country can take such a step, even if companies, politicians and scientists might be against it.
A few months before the next meeting of the Convention on Biodiversity and of the Biosafety protocol, it raises the question why Switzerland, a country that is not part of the EU, can declare itself GMO-free, while EU countries can't. A question that the Austrian presidency (starting in January 2006) will have to tackle.
A question that will also be at the hart of the European Conference on GMO-free Regions, Biodiversity and Rural Development in Berlin in January. More than 160 regions, over 3500 municipalities and other local entities and thousands of farmers and food producers in Europe have declared themselves "GMO-free" expressing their commitment not to allow the use of genetically modified organisms in the agriculture and food on their territories.