Cyprus parliament considers amending biofuels ban

The national legislature of Cyprus is considering amending a law banning the promotion or use of biofuels produced from genetically modified crops.

The European Commission (EC) has approached the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for a ruling on whether the Cypriot law breaches European Law banning unauthorised trade sanctions. If, as widely expected, the ECJ rules against Cyprus, Cyprus could face fines of millions of Euros.

The law was enacted in 2005 when the Cypriot parliament, the House Plenum, transposed into Cypriot Law an EU directive encouraging the promotion and use of biofuels for transport. The House added a clause banning biofuels produced from genetically modified crops, which would effectively mean any biofuels from the US or several other non-EU countries. The ostensible reason for this was to protect the Cyprus’ biodiversity.

But the European Commission argues that there are no scientific grounds for this, since the crops are grown outside Cyprus. A 2007 attempt to remove the offending clause was voted down by one vote.

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