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Despite EU approval, Hungary vows fight on GMO corn

Hungary’s government will take all necessary measures to prevent the cultivation in Hungary of Pioneer’s 1507 genetically modified maize, the Rural Development Ministry vowed today. This will mark the latest battle in Hungary’s longstanding fight against GMO crop production.

A European Commission spokesman said last week that Brussels was in no position to withdraw a permit for the GMO maize – just the second to be legally permitted in the European Union – after a vote by member states failed to garner the qualified majority necessary to block the approval.

The struggle to get the strain of GMO corn legally allowed on EU farms stretches back to 2001 and through a long series of legal and environmental procedures. A penultimate hurdle for the product was cleared early last year, when the European Food Safety Authority declared Pioneer 1507 “safe.”

In November, the Council of the European Union publicly announced it would consider permitting the crop within the EU; at that time, Rural Development Ministry Deputy State Secretary Katalin Tóth responded by reiterating that the prohibition on GMO crops in Hungary would continue.

Last Tuesday’s vote by EU government representatives allowed for introduction of the GMO, despite 19 of the 28 EU member states registering “nay” votes. The sole countries on the “yea” side were Britain, Estonia, Finland, Spain and Sweden; Hungary and France were credited with leading the ultimately just-short “nay” voting bloc.

Key to the final outcome – which was determined by a system of proportional voting by country population – was the abstention of Germany. Claiming that its 16 states were polarized on the issue, the German government did not place a vote in Brussels.

-- material from national news service MTI was used in this article