Europe fails to agree on glyphosate extension

European Member States have failed to agree on legislation that would allow an extension of the glyphosate license.

Today’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed saw no qualified majority of Member States in favour or against the proposal of extending the current approval of glyphosate for a limited period of time, until the opinion on the substance would be given by the European Agency for Chemical Products (ECHA).

The vote comes as the license for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup is due to expire and it is currently under provisional extension. Today’s decision can be appealed.

A spokesperson for the European Commission said that even though a majority of Member States is in favour of the renewal, no qualified majority was reached, in spite of the Commission’s efforts to accommodate requests and concerns from a number of national governments, as well as from the European Parliament.

Tomorrow Commissioner Andriukaitis will inform the College on the results of today’s Committee and discuss the next steps to be taken.

Copa-Cogeca, the European farming body, has said it was disappointed in today’s decision and said it was worried about the consequences for the sector.

Greenpeace has said that the outcome shows that governments remain sceptical about the continued use of the controversial weedkiller.

Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg said: “Extending the glyphosate licence would be like smelling gas and refusing to evacuate to check for a leak. As long as there is no meaningful EU-wide restriction on glyphosate use, we will continue to live in a world that is awash in a weedkiller which is a likely cause of cancer.”

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