France is still a long way from introducing legislation to transpose an EU directive on genetically modified (GM) crops into national law, in spite of a statement by President Jacques Chirac on October 21 that a draft law would be ready within 2 weeks.

Stephane Vaxelaire, a spokesman of the French Ministry of Agriculture, told The Scientist that draft legislation to transpose EU Directive 2001/18/EC, which covers the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), could not be expected until 2005.

Vaxelaire said that the government would wait for the report of a parliamentary inquiry before drafting legislation. The inquiry or "mission" to inform French deputies about the effects of GM crops began work last week and is due to present its conclusions in March or April 2005.

The EU directive introduces one of the strictest regulatory frameworks in the world for GM crops, including principles...

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