France to vote against European Union extending licence for glyphosate

France to vote against European Union extending licence for glyphosate

The EU has voted to renew the licence for glyphosate, ending months of deadlock related to concerns over the chemical's safety and environmental impact.

There was a qualified majority backing from member states in today's EU Appeal Committee in favor of a proposal to renew the marketing license for the controversial herbicide for five years.

Germany had been expected to abstain again, but agricultural minister Christian Schmidt has been accused of defying instructions by environment minister Barbara Hendricks after he voted in favour.

The Commission will now adopt the decision before the current authorisation expires on 15 December, as provided for in the applicable European Union legislation.

Its licence was due to run out in December.

With glyphosate's registration set to expire in December, an European Union appeal committee voted to extend glyphosate's lease for five years, a third the length of the typical 15-year lease.

The EU health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said: "Today's vote shows that when we all want to, we are able to share and accept our collective responsibility in decision making".

Macron said Monday that he would take all measures necessary to ban glyphosate in France as soon as an alternative is available and in three years at the latest.

In 2015, the World Health Organisation's cancer agency, the IARC, famously declared glyphosate "probably carcinogenic to humans", although several worldwide agencies, including Efsa, subsequently came to opposite conclusions.

Glyphosate was first authorised for use in the European Union in 1974 by U.S. agri-giant Monsanto under the Roundup brand.

Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg commented: "The people who are supposed to protect us from risky pesticides have failed to do their jobs and betrayed the trust Europeans place in them".

Several subsequent studies, including those conducted by the EU's food (EFSA) and chemicals (ECHA) agencies, concluded that there was not enough evidence to support the link between glyphosate and cancer risk.

The Green party called it "a dark day for consumers, farmers and the environment".

Monsanto is widely used by farmers and it had been predicted that a ban on the product could have resulted in a farmers' revolt.

Politically, Monday's approval proved toxic in Berlin.

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