Farming UK News, 9 March 2016
A vote on the future of the world’s most widely used herbicide glyphosate has been postponed after several EU member states said they would vote against the 15 year renewal.
Approval was expected on Tuesday, but opposition from a number of member states including Sweden, France, Italy and the Netherlands forced the vote to be postponed by the European Commission.
The existing approval expires at the end of June and a decision must be made by then.
France, Italy and Sweden had voiced their concern over glyphosate, while Germany planned to abstain from any vote.
In November 2015, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which advises EU policymakers, issued an opinion that glyphosate was unlikely to cause cancer.
In the run-up to this week’s council meeting, the Commission made some conciliatory moves, including suggesting there could be changes to the pesticide testing regime, and promising the executive would begin working with member states to draw up a list of co-formulants that have caused concern.
Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg commented, “Rushing to grant a new licence now, without waiting for an evaluation by Europe’s chemical agency, would be like skydiving without checking your equipment first. As long as there is conflicting scientific advice, glyphosate should not be approved for use in the EU. And countries would be better advised to do without it.”
The Guardian, 4 March 2016