January 30, 2009, 10:07 CET
Hungary to defy European Commission call to scrap ban on GMO crops
By Hungary Around the Clock
Hungary will keep its ban on GMO (genetically modified organisms) maize imports and the planting of GMO seeds, Agriculture Ministry undersecretary Zoltán Gőgös announced.
The European Commission recently called on Hungary to entirely lift its GMO ban.
Last week the EU's executive arm backed proposals that would grant standard ten-year licences for the two GMO maize types. Hungary, one of the region's biggest grain producers, became the first country in eastern Europe to ban GMO crops and foods in 2005, when it outlawed the planting of MON 810 maize seeds, which are marketed by the US biotech company Monsanto.
The call on Hungary to reverse its stance on the issue comes both from lobby interests and the fact that the EU did not recognize scientific evidence presented by Hungary, Gőgös said.
The pro-GMO camp say that Hungary could make good use of the new technology to provide an answer to the worrying structural surpluses of the Hungarian cereal sector in view of future CAP reform.