A move by European Union (EU) health and consumer affairs commissioner David Byrne to kick-start preparations to lift the five year de-facto moratorium on genetically modified organism imports into the EU has been blocked by Germany, France, Greece, Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria.

Byrne argued that new authorisation procedures should begin, because the EU Council of Ministers has approved rules on the labelling and traceability of GMOs. However, these Member States said at an agriculture council meeting that because the European Parliament has yet to approve these regulations, no moves towards liberalisation should occur.

German Agriculture Minister Renate Künast said: “Germany starts from the principle that the moratorium will only be lifted once the rules on the origin and labelling have come into force.”