|BRUSSELS - France and Germany received final warnings on Tuesday of legal action and possible fines unless they quickly update their national laws on genetically modified (GMO) foods and crops, the European Commission said.|
The Commission said it had sent its last written warnings to both countries for failing to integrate an EU directive on the environmental release of GMOs into their national statute books.
The law, agreed by EU governments in 2001, regulates how GMO crops may be grown and approved across the 25-nation bloc and ranks as the EU's main law, of around five, on biotech crops.
"This directive is the cornerstone of the EU's legislative framework on GMOs," the Commission said in a statement.
The warnings are the final chance for both countries to update their legislation before the Commission becomes entitled to ask the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the EU's highest court based in Luxembourg, to impose financial penalties.
EU governments had a deadline of October 2002 to revise their national laws to include the directive. France and Germany had failed to comply with an ECJ judgement from 2004, and then proceeded to ignore warnings from Brussels, the Commission said.
Germany had failed to adopt an additional law needed to integrate the EU directive into its national statute book. France had only partially integrated it and had still not specified when it would do the rest, despite reminders.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE