BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission (EC) has decided to take Portugal to the European Union's highest tribunal, the European Court of Justice, for failure to respect rules on biotechnology.

Portugal has not properly implemented the 1990 policies on contained use and deliberate release of genetically modified organisms, EC officials said, and despite repeated warnings has not changed its national laws sufficiently. The laws should have been in force by October 1991.

The EC also issued formal warnings to Belgium, Greece and Portugal for failure to update their biotechnology legislation in line with subsequent directives in 1997, which should have been in force by July 31, 1997. - Peter O'Donnell