Scientific backing urged as new EU pesticides committee gets green light

Scientific research and analysis should be given priority in any examination of EU pesticide authorisation procedures. This is the view of MEP and first vice-president of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness.

Speaking from Brussels, McGuinness made the comments following a vote by the European Parliament yesterday to establish a special parliamentary committee on EU authorisation procedures for pesticides.

“The establishment of a ‘Special Committee on Pesticides’ is a political response to the intense debate in recent months about glyphosate.

“The renewal of the marketing license by EU member states for five years last November was in sharp focus,” she noted.

While debate and discussion is welcome, we should be careful to ensure that the EU’s regulatory procedures are not unfairly attacked and that adequate attention is given to the scientific evidence and research in this area.

“Some members are absolutely opposed to the use of glyphosate and other products, while others understand the need for management tools for farmers, including agri-chemicals,” McGuinness said.

McGuinness has previously urged policymakers to heed scientific expertise on the matter, particularly during the recent glyphosate debates in Parliament.

The special committee will be tasked with:

  • assessing the authorisation procedure for pesticides in the EU;
  • potential failures in how substances are scientifically evaluated and approved;
  • the role of the European Commission in renewing the glyphosate licence;
  • possible conflicts of interest in the approval procedure; and
  • the role of EU agencies, and whether they are adequately staffed and financed to fulfil their obligations.

The establishment of the special pesticide committee is now confirmed following the Parliament’s vote.

A total of 30 MEPs will be elected to the special committee – which will sit for nine months.

The committee will deliver a final report of its findings and recommendations which would be subject to a vote by MEPs in the European Parliament.