Public debates / Stakeholder activities

Public debate and stakeholder opinions

Spain has the longest experience with the cultivation of GMOs in Europe. Although not specially regulated, co-existence has been a reality for years and is therefore held in favour by many stakeholders. However, GM-free regions have been developed by some important stakeholders who, based on general concerns, reject GMOs.

Positions on co-existence

Government

In July 2005, the government presented a legislative draft on co-existence. This law has not yet been passed.

Political parties

In its program for the general elections in 2004, the Partido Socialista (PSOE) included a paragraph on GMOs and stated the goal of ensuring the coexistence of organic, conventional, and GM products along the entire production chain.

Convergenci I Unio, the most popular regional party in Catalonia, supports organic farming.

The biotech industry actively promotes co-existence.
The biotech industry actively promotes co-existence.
Biotechnology industry

The Antama Foundation is an organisation which promotes activities contributing to the development of new technology for agriculture and food production. The foundation is supported in the biotechnology sector by several companies and institutions which organise workshops, newsletters and publications about GMOs and co-existence.

ASEBIO and SEBIOT are further industry organisations promoting GMOs and co-existence.

Farmers

The farmers' associations Asaja and UPA Andalusia support co-existence, and demand the freedom to choose their agricultural systems. The organic farmers' organisations have a more reluctant position on co-existence, and demand strict regulations to protect conventional and organic systems of cultivation.

Food and feed industry

Due to consumers' reluctance to buy GM foods, there are only few GM products available. However, the industry is interested in novel products, such as functional foods.

Compared with other Europeans, Spanish consumers are less opposed to GM foods.
Compared with other Europeans, Spanish consumers are less opposed to GM foods.
Consumers

The Eurobarometer survey showed in 2004 that Spanish consumers are more willing to accept GMOs than in 2002, and that, in comparison with European averages, they trust the verdict of scientific experts more strongly.

Consultation activities

After the presentation of two legislative drafts on co-existence from the government, members of environmental organisations and farmers' associations, such as Greenpeace and the COAG, wrote letters to the Prime Minister recommending some basic aspects to be considered when approving norms on co-existence.

Initiatives against GMOs

Some organisations of consumers and environmentalists, including Ecologists in Action, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and Rural Platform, are against any form of GM cultivation.

A network of GMO-free areas exists in some regions, and are intended to protect traditional agricultural systems.

In the last few years, field trials have been destroyed several times .




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