Press Information

Final press release 24. Jan 2005      Italiano

Press announcement 21. Jan 2005     communicado de prensa     Presseinformation

General Conclusions of the Conference (Demands and Strategies)

Charter of the regions and local authorities of Europe on coexistence of genetically modified crops with traditional and organic farming, adopted in Florence 4th February 2005
cover sheet with Region's emblems
English      Française      Italiano

GM-free regions and local areas in EU countries - a one page overview

Detailed Overview of GMO-free Regions by Country

List of participants

Films and Videos

European conference calls for regional governance

Berlin, 24th January 2005 – The Regions of Europe should be given the final say on the growing of genetically modified crops (GMOs) in their area, a major European conference today concluded.
The conference, organised during the International Green Week in Berlin, heard that with over 100 regional and 3500 sub-regional areas now declaring themselves GMO-free, it was time for European law to be changed to protect such areas from the cultivation of GM crops. 200 delegates from GMO free regions and from 30 European countries called on the European institutions to protect conventional and organic seeds from GMO contamination, to establish the regions right to stay GMO-free and to give them a say in the approval process of GMOs, which they find scientifically questionable and not based on the precautionary principle.
Benedikt Haerlin, conference organiser from GENET and the German-based Foundation on Future Farming said: “There is fast growing and unstoppable movement against the cultivation of genetically modified crops all over Europe. A new alliance of local and regional authorities, nature protection agencies and farmers unions with environmental and consumer organizations has emerged to defend their freedom of choice and the self-determination of the regions."
Representatives of the Tuscan government announced that agricultural ministers, forming a GMO-free network of regional governments, will meet in Florence, Italy, on February 4th to take further steps to protect their citizens and the rights of the Regions within the European Union.


150 representatives from 30 countries to discuss GMO free Regions in Berlin

Berlin, 21st January 2005 - Who really needs genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? From Albania to Scotland, from Turkey to Sweden, from Ireland to Azerbaijan and Georgia, more than 150 representatives of regional governments and institutions, activists and experts, farmers, politicians, scientists, lawyers and civil servants working for GMO-free regions in 30 countries will meet during the International Green Week in Berlin.

Participants will include: the vice-president of the regional assembly of Brittany, a representative of the first GMO-free community in Hungary, regional ministers of agriculture from Salzburg and Carinthia (Austria), and Tuscany; delegates from Europe's biggest national farmers union, Coldiretti/Italy, and the Union of Greek Prefectures, as well as organic farmers from Bulgaria, Spain and Sweden. Other farmers, seed savers, scientists, nature protection experts and environmental activists from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth will join the vice-president of the European Parliament's agricultural committee.

During the two day conference, to be held in English, they will share information, experience and know-how and join forces to make the cause for GMO-free regions heard in Brussels and European capitals and regions alike. Can there be "co-existence" of GM and non-GM agriculture? Or, once introduced, will GMOs contaminate all our fields, countryside and nature? Who should decide about the rural development and the heritage of natural and cultivated regional biodiversity?

These questions will also be discussed in a public debate with ministers from the pro-GMO government of the German State of Saxony-Anhalt and the GMO-free Italian region of Tuscany, the German CEO of Syngenta, a leading transnational GM seed producer, the Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture, and the coordinator of the Tatra National Park in Slovakia who successfully initiated a call of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) for a global moratorium on GMO releases.

“Consumers don't want GMOs, farmers don't need them and the threats to the environment are unpredictable," says Benedikt Haerlin of the conference secretariat. "However the European Union has now ended its moratorium on GMO approvals and wants to leave it to the national, regional and local authorities and farmers to cope with the dangers of genetic contamination of their fields and their natural protection areas."

In reaction to this situation, thousands of European communities have declared themselves GMO-free - in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Poland and the UK. They say that the use of GMOs challenges fundamental issues of their regional identity and wealth, including rural development, traditions, heritage and diversity as well as economic and environmental sustainability.

Should regions and agricultural communities have a right to self-determination and choice about these issues or will the future of their food, agriculture and environment be imposed by international companies and European bureaucrats?

A "European Manifesto" on GMO-free Regions will be released following the meeting. Conference participants will also be available for interviews.