EU

[img_assist|nid=245|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43] In July 2008, BASF filed a case with the European Court in Luxembourg stating that the European Commission failed to act on the approval of Amflora.
In September 2008, the company followed this by the threat that BASF would stop its development of GM crops in Europe unless the approval would be given soon.

[img_assist|nid=225|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]The president of the European Commission Barroso came up with a new idea to solve the problem that so far there has never been a qualified majority to approve of a GM crop: he simply wants to get Member States to agree on GMOs behind closed doors.

[img_assist|nid=222|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]Thanks to a lot of hard work of NGOs and civil society organisations, the EU Envrionmental Committee decided to drop its agrofuel targets from 10 to 4%. Together with a decision in the UK this shows that the uncritical hype to replace fossil fuels by crops without changing much about fuel and energy use ist over, and that there are serious doubts whether the production of agrofuels can be sustainable and fair.

[img_assist|nid=225|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]On Wednesday, 7 May 2008, the EU Commission refered three GM crops back to the EFSA: the GM starch potato Amflora and the two Bt maize events Bt11 and 1507. Environmental Commissioner Dimas had already announced earlier that he would propose to reject the two Bt maize.

On 6 March, BASF announced that there would be no commercial cultivation of the GM potatoe Amflora - while a few weeks ago the company with acting as if getting the required aproval for planting was immanent. In the middle of February, the agricultural ministers who had already in 2007 failed to find a qualified majority voted again but did not find a sufficient majority in favour or against an approval, so that it is now up to the EU Commission to take their own decission.

[img_assist|nid=245|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]On 6 March, BASF announced that there would be no commercial cultivation of the GM potatoe Amflora - while a few weeks ago the company with acting as if getting the required aproval for planting was immanent.

On Monday in the meeting of agricultural ministers, Germany voted against a cultivation approval for the GM starch potato Amflora.
Rumour now has it that Germany is also willing to enforce the safeguard clause 23 against its cultivation in Germany if the EU Commission now gives its approval.

[img_assist|nid=108|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=150|height=65]The good news is that yesterday, the EU Agricultural Minister meeting failed to give approval for the cultivation of BASF's GM starch potato Amflora. 10 years along the line of the de-facto moratorium against GM crops and still there is no new approval given for cultivation. The bad news is that once again, there was no qualified majority to reject it and the decision now lies with the EU Commission who is likely to approve of it.

Just two weeks ago, the EU environmental ministers postponed their decision on the cultivation of BASF's GM starch potato Amflora. Instead the decision has now been put on the agenda of the agricultural ministers this coming Monday. It appears that the EU Commission is determined to get this GM potato approved, and also to get the first cultivation approval since 1998 and the moratorium.

[img_assist|nid=108|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=150|height=65]The application for Amflora went unnoticed for some time, and as usual the EFSA gave a positive opinion even though Amflora contains the antibiotic resistance gene nptII against kanamycin, neomycin and a number of other antibiotic. In December 2006, the Standing Committee did not get a qualified majority in favour or against it, and the application was passed on to the environmental ministers.
However before it came to that, the possibility that the antibiotic resistance trait could be spread to soil bacteria raised concerns within the EU authorities, and DG Environment blocked the further authorisation until EMEA, the European Medicines Agency, would give an opinion on the use of this antibiotic resistance gene.

The WHO has listed kanamycin as an reserve antibiotic against multiple-resistant tuberculosis. The EMEA came to the that the antibiotics against which the nptII gene provides resistance are much more often used than the EFSA assumed.
But while EFSA acknowledges that horizontal gene transfer can occur, but it simply keeps on stating that it wouldn't happen often enough to be a problem, and that there already are soil bacteria resistant to these antibiotics. So Amflora was back on the agenda of the environmental ministers at the end of June, who in turn decided to postpone a decision until they would have more information.

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