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No GMOs Here, Say Bulgarians

Bulgaria’s parliament voted on Mar. 18 to tighten a law that effectively banned cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops for scientific and commercial reasons in response to public fears.

The ruling centre-right GERB party decided to drop a planned moratorium on GMO production because the new law would keep the European Union member GMO free, deputies said.

Non-government organizations, farmers and citizens have rallied for over two months against the government’s initial plans to replace a ban with a licensing regime.

The protesters and a number of political parties, including some of GERB’s rightist allies in parliament called on the government not to give in to alleged corporate pressure.

Growing public resistance forced the ruling party, elected last July, to abandon its initial plan, saying it only aimed to comply with the EU legislation.

“There will be no field on the country’s territory where GMOs can be cultivated,” Kostadin Yazov of GERB’s parliamentary group, said.

A March survey by state-funded pollster NPOC showed 97 per cent of Bulgarians wanted their country to be GMO free.

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