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Abstract

Hungary, this small and open economy with limited natural resources, tries to build its future on creativity and innovation. At the same time, the country has declared in its basic law a categorical prohibition on the application of genetically modified organisms. The aim of this study is to explain the causes of this obvious contradiction. The collection of expert estimations regarding the relative positions and attitudes of different actors has been carried out in the form of face-to-face interviews with 67 stakeholders in the agri-food sector, following a strictly neutral approach, not taking into consideration whether the respondents have taken positions for or against the application of genetically modified crops. In order to define the key actors in the GM regulation debate, their mutual influences and their goals. Based on this information, a quantitative model has been developed to determine the system of interests of different actors and the coalition(s) which develop among them around different goals. The results of the analysis emphasise that a wide coalition of anti-GMO actors has formed, consisting of researchers, NGOs, GM-free certifiers, the media and the parliamentary parties. However, their interests are quite different, as is their natural reluctance to accept new, partially unknown technology. The results of our investigations support the practical applicability of strategic position analysis, supported by modern expert-opinion based quantitative methods. The application of this approach offers a favourable possibility to determine the positions of various actors. Under these conditions, there is an urgent need to change the communication strategy of pro-GMO scientists and other stakeholders and instead of taking a defensive position, pro-active communication should be adopted.

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