HAMBURG, June 25 (Reuters) - Germany's agriculture minister will propose a draft law regulating cultivation of crops with genetically modified organisms, he said in a newspaper interview published on Wednesday.
Minister Christian Schmidt had supported a European Union initiative approved on June 12 giving member states the freedom to prohibit GMO crops, saying this opened the way for a ban in Germany even if crops had been approved by the bloc for EU-wide cultivation.
"We have pushed through a cultivation ban for genetically modified organisms at the EU level," Schmidt told the daily Handelsblatt. "As the next step I will present a draft law for the German regulation."
The law would depend on the final outcome of the EU's new decision-making process on GMOs, which is still awaiting final approval, he said.
The agreement struck on June 12 still needs approval from the European Parliament, which is to debate the issue later this year.
More decisions also need to be taken about German policy before the law is presented, he said.
"For example, we still have to decide whether every German federal state can introduce its own ban on cultivation or whether we need a national rule," Schmidt told the newspaper.
GMO crops, although widely grown in the Americas and Asia, have divided opinion in Europe with strong opposition in many countries including France and Germany.
Imports of GMO crops from the United States are a major stumbling block in a planned EU/U.S. free trade deal. (Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Dale Hudson)