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GE action burns our European bridges

GE action burns our European bridges

New Zealand's new-found closer relationship with Europe is under threat as a result of the Government's decision to align itself with the US-led move to impose GE food and crops on European consumers, Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

"European reaction has been swift and overwhelmingly condemnatory," said Ms Fitzsimons. "Initial anger has, of course, been directed at the United States but New Zealand's role in this outrageous action has been noted by European media.

"New Zealand's misguided support for the US-led action is a tragedy for the closer relations with Europe that Helen Clark was so pleased to announce on her recent trip."

This is a sample of reaction from Euro MPs to the US-led move:

"By trying to use the WTO to force GM foods on European consumers, the US is launching the mother of all trade wars - and could bring about the institution's collapse. European consumers are far more concerned about the environmental dangers associated with GM food than about the WTO. By challenging the EU on genetic modification, the US will transfer public hostility to GM-foods onto the WTO itself...If the US wants a fight it has certainly picked one." Caroline Lucas MEP (Greens - UK)

"This move represents a major miscalculation by the US administration...whatever the outcome of the case, GM food will not become any more popular in Europe" Hiltrud Breyer, MEP (Greens - Germany.)

"When the EU or its Member States determine that it is in the interests of its consumers to take a certain precautionary line of action, as in withholding commercial licences for GMOs, or refusing to import hormone-treated beef, it should have the sovereign right to do so - free from challenge under trade rules." Jill Evans, MEP (EFA - Wales)

"The European Union is our second largest trade partner and is much closer to us than the US in terms of regard for international law, belief in multilateralism and respect for the environment," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"The perception of New Zealand as a GM-pushing client-state of the US has the potential to sour relations with Europe for decades.

"The Green Party is calling on the Government to withdraw New Zealand from this shameful attempt to force GM food down the throats of Europe while it is still possible to salvage our reputation."

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