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09.11.2017 |

EU governments reject Commission push for glyphosate

Brussels - European governments have again refused to support a European Commission plan to grant a shortened but unrestricted licence for glyphosate, Europe’s most widely used weedkiller that has been linked to cancer and environmental harm.

The Commission is now expected to take the same proposal to a vote in the so-called appeals committee, where it is also expected to fail. Thereafter, the Commission has the power to adopt its own proposal without the backing of European governments.

Reacting to the news, Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg said: “The Commission is trying to ram through a new glyphosate licence despite massive scandals surrounding its main maker and the EU’s own risk assessment. A new licence is a new licence, regardless of its length. If the Commission continues to allow this toxic chemical to contaminate our soils, water, food and bodies, it is simply rewarding Monsanto for obscuring the dangers linked to its weedkiller. The EU needs to ban it now, not in three, five or ten more years.”

Since early 2016, the Commission has backed an unrestricted EU licence for glyphosate. On six occasions it failed to garner sufficient support for its proposal from European governments (on 8 March 2016, 19 May 2016, 6 June 2016, 24 June 2016 and 25 October 2017). Nine countries representing 32.26% of the EU population voted against a five-year renewal of the glyphosate licence (Austria, Belgium, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta), while five countries representing 30.79% of the EU population abstained (Bulgaria, Germany, Poland, Portugal and Romania). Fourteen countries voted in favour representing 36.95% of the EU population (Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden and the U.K.).

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