French High Court Passes Marketing Consent Decision to the European Court of Justice

Novartis' genetically modified (GM) Bt maize will now not be grown in France until at least the year 2000. Last week, the High Court in France declared itself incompetent to judge whether or not the European procedure for giving marketing consent to GM seeds allowed a Member State to reverse a previous given authorisation to commercialise the Norvartis Bt transgenic crop. The High Court has referred the question to the European Court of Justice which will take up to 18 months to reach a decision and then inform the French High Court. At this stage the High Court will then be able to make a final appeal. The whole procedure should last until the year 2000. So, France now has a moratorium on herbicide resistant rape seed and sugar beet which runs until year 2000 and a similar moratorium on pesticide resistant maize until the same date.

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