European Union breaks stalemate to renew licence on controversial weedkiller

28 November, 2017, 00:51 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • A farmer holds up a barley seed showing the impact of using the weed-killer glyphosate on his farm in Brentwood Britain

Glyphosate's use has been in question since the World Health Organization's cancer agency said in 2015 that it probably causes cancer, but the European Chemical Agency said in March that there was no evidence linking it to cancer in humans.

Glyphosate was introduced in 1974 by U.S. agro-giant Monsanto under the brand-name Roundup.

After a drawn-out process, the European Union backed the extension with a qualified majority and was able to beat a mid-December deadline when the current license expires - 18 member states voted in favor, 9 against while one abstained.

European Union agriculture commissioner, Phil Hogan, welcomed the vote, while his health and food safety counterpart also hailed the fact there was a qualified majority.

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace.

It has been given a green light for five years.

"Anyone who is interested in developing trust between two parties can not behave that way", she said.


Two weeks ago the European Commission, the EU executive, fell short of the majority needed to renew the licence when it expires on December 15, as only half of the 28 member states voted for its proposal.

Germany voted for the extension over the objection of Social Democrat Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, who said she had told Christian Democrat Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt on the phone Monday that she was against it.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he has asked the French government to look for alternative pesticides and ban glyphosate in France within three years.

Mr Schmidt is from the Merkel-allied CSU party, while Ms Hendricks is part of the Social Democrats.

Banning glyphosate outright would have shaken Europe's agriculture sector, since it is so widely used.

The European Commission will now issue a formal renewal of the licence for glyphosate in the EU.

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