Bush assailed many European governments for "acting on unfounded, unscientific fears" and called on them to allow the import of new biotech crops. The opposition, Bush told a conference of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, is hindering investment in biotechnology, particularly in Africa.
"For the sake of a continent threatened by famine, I urge the European governments to end their opposition to biotechnology," the president said.
Bush also called on Congress to approve legislation for Project BioShield, a $6 billion, 10-year plan to speed research and development of vaccines against deadly biological agents, such as anthrax and ebola. Bush also wants the Food and Drug Administration to be given powers to make experimental drugs available for use in an emergency.
Bush made a renewed plug for lawmakers to act quickly on Medicare legislation. Both the House and the Senate are considering bills that would establish a prescription drug benefit under Medicare, as well as offer seniors a choice of private plans.
Democrats are leery of any changes that they believed would undermine Medicare, the government health insurance program for the elderly. Many Republicans want legislation to include incentives for seniors to opt to join private health insurance plans.
Bush alluded to that in his comments, suggesting seniors who join private plans would have "enhanced benefits" and should have choice among the health care plans.
Monday evening, Bush is scheduled to be in New York City for a fund-raiser expected to bring in roughly $4 million for his re-election campaign.