Belgium and Spain knuckles rapped over GMM rules

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union, Spain

The European Commission has requested Belgium and Spain to comply
with 2003 rulings of the European Court of Justice concerning their
failure to adopt and notify national legislation implementing an EU
law on the contained use of genetically modified micro-organisms
(GMMs).

The EU law aims to ensure that the use of GMMs in laboratories and other contained conditions is as environmentally safe and secure as possible, said the Commission in a statement this week.

According to the rules, the required national legislation should have been put in place by 5 June 2000.

Commenting on the decisions, environment commissioner Margot Wallström said this week: "I am disappointed that Belgium and Spain are now over three years late in completing the transposition of this Directive. I urge them to put the remaining national legislation in place as soon as possible. "

On 13 March 2003, Belgium was condemned by the European Court of Justice for failing to meet the 5 June 2000 deadline (Case C-436/01). Transposition is now complete for the regions of Brussels and Wallonia, but legislation is still lacking for Flanders.

On the same day, Spain was condemned by the court for the same reason (Case C-333/01). While some legislation has since been put in place, transposition remains incomplete. More specifically, while Spain has put into place relevant legislation, further detailed regulations are still needed and have not yet been adopted and notified.

In 1990, the European Union adopted a directive on the contained use of genetically modified organisms. This directive (Council Directive 98/81/EC on the contained use of genetically modified micro-organisms) was substantially amended eight years later to take into account technological advances made.

'The revised directive aims to bring the legislation into line with current international practice. It expands the guidelines on the containment and control measures that need to be applied to protect human health and the environment,'​ added the Commission this week.

Related topics: Policy

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