The agreement realised on Thursday by the Ministers of Environment of the member states with regard to prohibiting GMOs is a success achieved by Hungarian agrarian diplomacy, Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas told Hungarian news agency MTI.

A political agreement came into being on Thursday between the Ministers of Environment of the European Union’s member states regarding the proposed bill that would provide a legal basis for member states to prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified (GMO) crops within their own territory. According to the current regulations, if Brussels issues an authorisation it is valid for the entire European Union and member states can only ban the given products from their markets by applying a safeguard clause, involving strict conditions and time-consuming testing.

Sándor Fazekas called the political agreement a historic decision, especially in view of the fact that several member states had previously been against banning GMOs. Mr. Fazekas stressed that Hungary had always been in favour of banning GMOs and that a healthy environment and healthy food “is our fundamental interest and we should be the ones to decide on this issue”.

According to the decision, GMOs may now be banned not only with regard to environmental and health-related issues but also based on economic and social criteria raised by individual member states, Minister Fazekas pointed out.

The fact that many member states eventually took a stand in support of Hungary’s standpoint and voted yes to the proposal is also the result of successful Hungarian action against GMOs, Mr. Fazekas said, adding that great steps forward had been achieved during negotiations on the proposal package under the Hungarian Presidency of the EU: Hungarian agrarian diplomacy was responsible for the formulation of the justification system on which banning measures were based.