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Presidency Urges Compromise Over Cloned Foods

EU - The Hungarian Presidency hopes for the Council and the Parliament to agree on the new draft regulation on foods from cloned animals, Minister of State for EU Affairs, the Presidency declared at the European Parliament's plenary debate, on 10 May 2011.

The Presidency statement was read by Chief of Cabinet Péter Szoke, on behalf of Minister of State, Eniko Gyori, who was present, but suffering from a sore throat.

The Presidency statement called the failure of the previous regulation, a 'serious collective fiasco' of EU institutions, and suggested that consequences should be drawn in a constructive way. The Hungarian Presidency supports the Commission's new draft, which is now taking shape, in order to save the temporary agreements reached in recent negotiations between the Council and the Parliament.

'Hungary fully backs the Commission's idea that cloning rules should be laid down in a special legal act,' the statement said.

According to the Presidency statement, the new regulation can only be passed if the Council and the Parliament are able to reach a compromise. 'As co-legislators the Council and the Parliament are responsible for reaching an agreement, which is satisfactory for both institutions. Making joint efforts is the only way to find a solution, which meets the needs and expectations of EU citizens,' the statement said.

The issue of cloned animals is covered by regulation 258/97/EC, concerning novel foods (i.e. foods not distributed in large quantities before 1997), which was amended in 2001 and 2008. The Commission proposed a new draft regulation in 2008, submitted to the Council for a first-reading position, on 15 March 2010 and to the Parliament on 7 July 2010. During the Belgian Presidency, three trialogues were held to adopt the regulation by late 2010 but they failed. Afterwards, the Council rejected the Parliament’s amendment proposals on 6 December 2010. The Hungarian Presidency conducted another four trialogues and three conciliation committee meetings in February and March. The final deadline for the adoption of the draft regulation would have been 29 March 2011.

The Council, which represents Member State governments, and the European Parliament, which is elected by Member State citizens, only agreed that the commercialisation of foods from cloned animals should clearly be banned. At the same time, the Parliament wanted to prohibit foods from the offspring and descendants of cloned animals, which the Council could not accept as it would have called for too complex and expensive monitoring and labelling procedures; in addition, it would have meant a violation of the EU's international agreements.

the Fish Site Editor

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