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300 representatives from 37 countries, representing formal and informal GMO-free regions, GMO-free initiatives and activists on related issues from all over Europe. Breeders and seed exchangers, farmers, bee-keepers, gmo-free traders, processors and retailers as well as consumers, critical scientists and environmental activists have met in Brussels and Ghent from 16 to 18 September 2010.
The participants critically discussed the new GMO policy of the European Union, which was presented to them by EU Commissioner John Dalli. They welcomed the announcement of the environment minister of the Region of Brussels, that the government of the Capital of Europe has just declared itself GMO Free. The agricultural minister of Wallonia, vize-chairmen of the European Parliaments Agricultural Committee, José Bové and Janusz Wojciechowski, presidents and representatives of major farmers unions, from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, Euro-Coop and IFOAM expressed their solidarity with the GMO Free movement. The secretary general of Carrefour and representatives of the German EDEKA and tegut supermarket chains confirmed their commitment to stay GMO free and to build a reliable supply chain of non-GMO animal feed for their milk, meat and egg products. This was especially welcomed by the secretary general of the association of Brasilian GMO Free soybean producers, ABRANGE.
In the evening the conference was welcomed by the vice-major and echevin for the environment, Bertin Mampaka, in the historic City Hall of Brussels at the Grande Place.
Shocking news came from Professor Andres Carrasco, Argentina’s leading embryologist, who presented newly published scientific evidence that Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the worlds best selling weedkiller “Roundup”, to which about 75% of all GMOs of the world are resistant, cause serious embryonic damage.
For two days the participants then retreated to exchange information and discuss joint strategies for a GMO free Europe. 30 workshops covered a diversity of issues while the final plenary agreed to fight for a moratorium of any releases of GMOs into the environment, to both expand GMO Free Regions at national level and to demand a serious overhaul of the risk assessment procedure at European level.