“An agriculture that is free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) represents an opportunity and a certain livelihood in Central and Eastern Europe”, Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas told Hungarian news agency MTI in a statement on Wednesday following a meeting of agriculture ministers in Vienna.

At the conference, the agriculture and environment ministers of ten Central European and Western Balkan countries accepted a joint memorandum in which they declare that they will be harmonising their GMO policies. According to the Minister, the declaration states that they would like a traditional and GMO-free agriculture and to transpose the experiences relating to regulation, trademarking and production that Hungary, Austria and other countries that are committed to remaining GMO-free have developed in recent years.

Mr. Fazekas said the new agreement and the harmonisation of interests was a major step forward. “Hungary was one of the initiators of GMO-free solidarity form the very beginning”, said the Minster, according to whom GMO-free production represents a competitive advantage in view of the fact that there is great demand among consumers for GMO-free products, and Hungary does not wish to allow entry to risky agricultural solutions.

The Minister also told MTI that at the EU agriculture summit in June, Hungary, Austria and Germany will be jointly submitting a proposal on the adoption of the European soy declaration, which according to plan will be signed in July at Hungary’s permanent representation in Brussels.

Mr. Fazekas reminded the press about his previously launched Alliance for a GMO-free Europe initiative, which was joined by eleven EU member states and seven countries form outside the EU. The Minister declared that in view of the fact that Hungary has an interest in producing high quality foods, it is protecting public health, the cleanliness of the environment, biodiversity and tradition agricultural production.

A statement issued by the Austrian environment ministry states that businesses which are operating in a sustainable manner and regions in which production is free from genetically modified organisms must be protected not only because of healthcare and ethical behaviour criteria, but also because of new market opportunities. Austria’s Minister of Agriculture pointed out that 20 years ago, 1.2 million people signed the initiative on holding an anti-GMO referendum, and public opinion hasn’t changes since then in view of the fact that the vast majority of Austrians still reject the consumption of genetically modified foods.

(MTI/Ministry of Agriculture Press Office)