26 June 1998

Wasted chance

ENVIRONMENTAL campaign group Friends of the Earth believes the UK government should have considered public opinion on agricultural reform during its EU presidency.

Its failure to do so meant the EU presidency was a wasted opportunity, FoE claims.

FoE food campaigner Adrian Bebb also insisted that little had been achieved during the six months because the UK team had buckled under pressure from the German government which, facing elections in September, wanted few decisions to be taken during the UKs term of office.

"We thought the government would grasp the opportunity to clarify the position on CAP reform and genetic engineering. But all we have at the end of the presidency is half an agreement on labelling for genetically modified products," Mr Bebb said.