Moreover, according to the High Council, the Precautionary Principle which falls within the scope of the French Constitution thanks to the Charter of the Environment, is respected by the GMO Law.
In contrast, left wing Members of Parliament had underlined a contamination risk for agricultural productions that was, in their eyes, contrary to the Precautionary Principle. The authors of the submission of the case to the Constitutional Council had also reckoned that the decision of the Council would “open up the way for a more environmental jurisprudence with major consequences for the respect of natural resources”.
The Sages only censured two paragraphs planning that a decree would establish a list of pieces of information that would be compulsorily made public in case of GMO cultivation whether in a green house or in an open field.
As a matter of fact, according to the Council, this list should have been part of the law. However, the censure will come into effect only from 1 January 2009, the Sages having decided to give the Government a little bit more time to elaborate on the law. The other reason for this, is for France to avoid breaching the law by ignoring the obligation for every Member-State to translate European Directives into their own legal system.
In a press release, the Ministry of the Ecology underlined that the censure “was not questioning the actual enforcement of the law, and that the decrees specifying how the law should be enforced would be published by the end of the year”.
As far as they are concerned, organizations like Greenpeace and France Nature Environment have commended the remarks of the Constitutional Council, while regretting that the law was validated. France Nature Environment also deplored “the lack of ambition in the interpretation of the Precautionary Principle” on the part of the Council.
Adopted on 22 May 2008, after a lively controversy, the French GMO law, which is transcribing a European Directive, recognizes “the freedom of consuming or producing with or without GMOs” in France and organizes the coexistence of both types of cultivations.