In Serbia, nearly 83 percent of citizens voted to ban the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on their territory, according to a survey conducted by the portal 021.rs.
Of 1,827 people surveyed, 82.9 percent voted for complete prohibition of GMOs, 10.9 percent are against the ban, while 6.1 percent are undecided, according to a press release.
The group “Citizens have power” which advocates that Serbia remains a country without GMO products, estimated that the survey indicates that “the majority of citizens of Serbia is against the announced amendments to the Law on GMOs, which would allow GMO in Serbia.”
They recall that, so far, more than 80 municipalities in Serbia, whose territory is home to more than four million people, have made “a declaration against GMOs,” with which the local governments declared their territories GMO-free zones, and banned cultivation, import and trade of GMOs.
Serbian Trade Minister Rasim Ljajic, said on Thursday that Serbia has to allow the trade of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) if it wants admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO), but added that the ban on the production of GMO remains in force.
Permission for the trade and production of GMOs is not a requirement for joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the EU, leader of the Greens of Serbia Ivan Karic warned on Monday, underscoring that Serbia only needs much knowledge and adroitness in negotiations in order to protect the national interests.
“The EU accession talks would then be named “acceptance talks”, if you were to accept everything on the table,” Karic told Tanjug.
He notes that only 40 out of the 159 WTO member states allowed GMOs, while the ban on GMOs is valid in eight EU countries, including Germany, France and Austria, because they protect their consumers and agricultural producers.
The Greens of Serbia deems that the negotiations with the WTO should be postponed until Serbia’s EU entry, and underlines that the WTO should not require from Serbia what it has not asked of other member states.
“We have to have researches and studies that show that this food is not dangerous, and only after that, we can discuss whether such products have to be labeled or not and whether their trade should be allowed,” Karic noted.
“It is absolutely unacceptable to us that there are only studies of companies that state that their genetically modified foods or seeds are not detrimental to environment,” he said.
Karic stressed that the non GM soy, which is produced in Serbia, is in great demand on the global market, adding that its price is 25-30 percent higher than that of the GM soy, while the organic soy is 50 percent more expensive.