Extracts from the press conference by Tonio Borg, on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Type: Complete press conference   Reference: I-083348   Duration: 10:03:39  Lieu:
End production: 06/11/2013   First transmission: 06/11/2013
On 6 November 2013, Tonio Borg, Member of the EC in charge of Health, gave a press conference following the ruling delivered on the 26 September 2013 by the General Court of the European Union, stated that the Commission failed to act on a GMO cultivation request which had been submitted twelve years ago in 2001. In line with this ruling, the Commission reacted by referring the cultivation request to the Council of Ministers on 6 November 2013. It is now up to the Ministers to take a position by qualified majority on this request. The Commission requested a discussion with Member States during the Environmental Council which will meet on 13 December 2013. In parallel, the Commission requested a fresh debate in the Council of Ministers of its so-called "cultivation proposal" on which the EP already adopted its opinion which would allow Member States to restrict or prohibit cultivation of GMOs on their territory on grounds other than those relating to risks to health and the environment.

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TIME DESCRIPTION DURATION
10:00:00 Title 00:00:05
10:00:05 Exterior view of the Berlaymont building in Brussels 00:00:07
10:00:12 Arrival of Tonio Borg, Member of the EC in charge of Health and Consumer Policy, at the press conference 00:00:04
10:00:16 Soundbite by Tonio Borg, Member of the EC in charge of Health and Consumer Policy (in ENLGISH): The Commission as "Guardian of the Treaties" has to comply with this ruling and today acted by closing this finding that we failed to act, by referring the dossier to the Council of Ministers. So now the dossier will go to the Council of Environment Ministers who will decide whether to approve this cultivation or not, of course, as usual in such cases according to the Treaties, one has to muster a qualified majority on this request. 00:00:37
10:00:54 Cutaway of the audience 00:00:08
10:01:03 Soundbite by Tonio Borg (in ENLGISH): At the same time the Commission has approved a parallel course of actions which is to reactivate a fresh debate on the so-called "cultivation proposal", which has already been approved by the European Parliament but it's been stuck in the Council of Ministers. This cultivation proposal based on the subsidiarity principle, would allow Member States to restrict or prohibit cultivation of GMOs on their territories on grounds other than those relating to risks to health and the environment. So, if this cultivation proposal, which I hope it will also be discussed in the next Council of Ministers of Environment, were to be approved, as we would like it to be approved, and as the European Parliament would like it to be approved, this would mean that if the Commission says "no" to a cultivation dossier, then it cannot be cultivated on European territory. But, if the Commission says "yes", it won't be "yes" for everybody; because each Member State on specific grounds other than health and environment can refuse to allow that cultivation on its own territory, so I would say that this is the pure principle of pedigree subsidiarity. 00:01:31
10:02:34 Cutaway of the audience 00:00:06
10:02:41 Soundbite by Tonio Borg (in ENLGISH): So now I call on the Council to find an agreement on this cultivation proposal to allow Member States to exercise the freedom to choose whether or not to cultivate GMOs on their territory. And I believe that the Court's decision of the 26th of September, which we are applying today by sending the matter to the Council and therefore we are no longer in a position of failure to act, but we are acting on this maize 1507 confirms the urgency of reconciling strict and predictable European authorisation rules for GMO cultivation, and at the same time taking into account in a fair way national contexts in Member States. 00:00:51
10:03:33 Cutaway of the audience 00:00:06
10:03:39 Departure of Tonio Borg 00:00:08
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