In a vote today (Friday, October 13), a proposal to renew the use of glyphosate for 10 years did not receive the required majority from EU member states.

The EU member states voted, in a standing committee on plants, animals, food and feed (SCOPAFF), on the commission’s proposal to renew the use of the herbicide, but the required majority to adopt (or reject) the proposal was not reached.

Glyphosate is a chemical substance used in a number of herbicide products and its use in Europe is currently approved until December 15, 2023.

MEP Grace O’Sullivan said today: “While this is not the outright rejection we wanted, it is good news.

“I understand that the vote was tight so we need to redouble our efforts to convince ministers for agriculture, including our own, to end the use of glyphosate once and for all.

“Our fight against this toxic weedkiller goes on,” she added.

As a result, the proposal, which is based on an opinion delivered by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will be submitted to the appeal committee, which is expected to vote on the commission proposal in the first half of November.

A decision on the renewal of glyphosate needs to be taken by December 14, 2023, as the current approval expires in December.

Glyphosate use

PAN (Pesticide Action Network) Europe has welcomed that the EU member states have not reached a qualified majority to reapprove the licence for glyphosate.

Gergely Simon, at PAN Europe, said: “This is an important signal. It does right to the concerns of a majority of Europeans about the impact of pesticides on health and the environment.

“A wide range of independent scientists have expressed their concerns and their studies show serious negative effects of glyphosate use.

“Re-approval of glyphosate breaches the EU pesticide law, under which health and environment should come first. In case of doubt, the precautionary principle must be invoked.”

Food production

Christine Schneider MEP, of the EPP (European People’s Party) group, said: “We want to reduce pesticides. But as long as there is war in Europe, we will not support any laws which hinder farmers from producing more food.

“A total ban on glyphosate would have a seriously negative impact on food production and prices. Many people are currently suffering from increased food prices already.

“A ban on glyphosate like Greens and Socialists want would make this situation even worse.”