Upper Austria devised a ban in 2002, which was rejected by the European Commission in 2003 and unsuccessfully appealed by the region in 2005. The final ruling has squelched the provinces latest plea of anulment.
Within the EU, Upper Austria has earned a reputation as a "Gallic village" for its campaign against the use of genetically modified plants. The region sees itself as a pioneer of GM-free farming, for which it also has the broad support of residents and farmers.
In light of strict EU import restrictions on GM foods, the courts decision seems somewhat paradoxical. Despite the ruling, precautionary legislation in Upper Austria, which remains uncontested by the EU, makes it difficult for farmers to get permission to use GM seeds and plants.