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OPEN LETTER TO THE GOVERNMENT OF PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE,
following the decision of the French State Council in August 2013
In canceling the suspension cultivation of Bt maize MON810, the Council of State (the highest administrative judicial authority in the country) offers a moral victory to researchers who denounced the misuse of scientific data by the French government in 2008 and again in 2012.
In a political agreement (today publicly regretted by former Prime Minister François Fillon) in advance of the 2007 national debate on environment, the government of Nicolas Sarkozy had granted French environmentalist parties a ban on GMOs in exchange for their silence on nuclear power.
Since 2008, this "deal" has deprived French farmers of the freedom of choice (under the Act of June 25, 2008, passed unanimously) on the cultivation of maize varieties that combat certain insect pests without using pesticides.
Also, the termination by INRA of its last transgenic plant field trial (poplar) on July 13, 2013, indicated the impossibility of continuing research on GMOs in France.
We urge the government of François Hollande:
* Not to follow its predecessor on a GMO ban against the French and European law and European authorizations.
* To include field crops in the governmental aim of "restoration of production capacities" in the country.
* To encourage further research in plant biotechnology to meet the economic and environmental challenges in agriculture and to promote industrial bioproduction.
* To create the technical and social conditions of coexistence between GM and conventional crops and to finally enforce the law "GMO" 2008 allowing freedom of choice for farmers.
* Not to repeat past practices of manipulation of the scientists engaged in risk assessment practices. In particular, we are asking for the High Council of Biotechnologies to be re-designed and in particular the dissolution of the "Economic, Social and Ethical Committee" which has never performed its function, and whose composition does not comply with the statutes enshrined in law after its implosion in January 2012.
* To break with the past misuse of scientific evidence to justify a political ban of GMO cultivation.
* To promote fair and objective information on plant biotechnology and in other areas where confusion reigns supreme.
Read the list of signatories in the French version