The European Commission ruled recently that Greece may no longer prohibit the planting of Monsanto corn seed varieties containing the corn borer resistant corn line MON 801.
"While this is an encouraging sign, the issue is not settled," notes Gretchen Flanley, U.S. Grains Council director of biotechnology programs. "The media has reported the government of Greece may appeal to the European Court of Justice to overturn the ruling."
Under EC law, countries may decide whether or not to permit the cultivation of biotech crops within their own borders, but any ban must supply the necessary scientific evidence to support such a ban and be approved by the other member states.
In 2005, Greece informed the EC that it had banned planting 17 types of biotech corn derived from MON 801 during the 2005 and 2006 growing seasons. The Commission was empowered to disallow the Greek ban following a meeting in October at which European Union farm ministers were unable to agree on this matter.