Margot Wallström's complaint about how American biotech firms "tried to lie" over GM crops is just the latest instance of a commendable frankness from the European Commission.
Earlier this year EU trade commissioner Lamy accused the US of being "very simply immoral" in its linking of the GM issue to food aid.
And European Development Commissioner Poul Nielson accused US trade representative Robert Zoellick of a "very negative lie" when he said some EU governments had threatened to withdraw aid from poor countries that used GM. Nielson proposed a deal: "The deal would be this: if the Americans would stop lying about us, we would stop telling the truth about them." http://ngin.tripod.com/200103d.htm
But this is an industry steeped in deceit that can only be propelled forward by lies.
US firms 'tried to lie' over GM crops, says EU
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
The Independent, 14 October 2003
American biotech companies tried to lie to Europe in an attempt to force genetically modified crops upon them, Margot Wallström, the European environment commissioner, said yesterday.
Far from developing GM crops to solve the problem of starvation in the world, as they claimed, the biotech companies did so to "solve starvation amongst their shareholders", said the European Union's leading green politician.
Speaking to journalists in London, the 49-year-old Swede followed her broadside over GM with an attack on the US over the so-called ghost fleet of rusting and polluted American ships being sent to Britain for dismantling, saying they should be kept in America.
She further suggested that the US government had been putting pressure on Russia not to ratify the Kyoto protocol.
Mrs Wallström's unusually outspoken remarks will add to the ill-feeling between Europe and the US over genetic modification, which has led to the American government launching a legal action through the World Trade Organisation on the basis that European nations are dragging their feet over GM crop authorisation.
Her comments raise the political stakes before the publication on Thursday of Britain's farm-scale trials of GM crops, which may provide evidence of environmental damage that could lead to the crops being banned.
At a lunch with journalists, the commissioner spoke of the "legitimate concerns of European citizens and farmers and other groups about the effects of GM crops on human health and the environment".
Asked if US biotech companies had chosen the wrong products to introduce into Europe - meaning crops that were modified to take more powerful weedkillers, rather than give any other benefit - she replied: "Of course they have. Absolutely. They have to face that. They have to realise that they have chosen the completely wrong approach from the beginning.
"They tried to lie to people, and they tried to force it upon people. It's the wrong approach. You cannot force it upon Europe. So I hope they have learnt a lesson from this, especially when they now try to argue that this will solve the problems of starvation in the world and so on. But come on ... it was to solve starvation amongst shareholders, not the developing world."
"[UK Prime Minister] Blair's chief scientific adviser denounced the United States' attempts to force the technology into Africa as a 'massive human experiment'. In a scathing attack on President Bush's administration, Professor David King also questioned the morality of the US's desire to flood genetically modified foods into African countries, where people are already facing starvation in the coming months." The Observer, UK, Sep 1, 2002
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