Weedkiller glyphosate licensed by European Union despite opposition

29 November, 2017, 00:24 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Macron promises French glyphosate ban

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

"Today's vote shows that when we all want to, we are able to share and accept our collective responsibility in decision making", EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said in a statement.

The EU was last month handed a Greenpeace petition with 1.3 million signatures calling for glyphosate to be banned after a World Health Organisation study found it was "probably carcinogenic".

French President Emmanuel Macron, who was elected in May on a platform of pursuing deeper European Union integration alongside Germany, had wanted a shorter extension and a rapid phasing out of glyphosate, which is a mainstay of farming across the continent.

In theory, the Commission could have pushed through a license extension, but it said it wanted governments to make the call on an issue that has become so politically charged. Bulgaria, Germany, Portugal and Romania, joined the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, Latvia Lithuania, Hungary, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom at the positive vote to the license renewal. "They can not plan for the future without long term assurances about the availability of substances they rely on". "This is a dark day for consumers, farmers and the environment".

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The European Food Safety Authority and European Chemicals Agency have both said it is "unlikely" to cause cancer in humans. European Union nations had failed to find a compromise until Monday.

The row over glyphosate has raised questions over modern farming techniques, regulatory capture and scientific independence, as well as the safety of ubiquitous pesticides. According to the letter, the study was co-authored by a former Monsanto employee. The Papers include a host of documents from United States regulators and USA scientists, as well as thousands of pages of internal Monsanto emails, memos and other documents.

"Glyphosate reduces the need to use other herbicides, it helps to protect soil and cut greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the need for ploughing, and it enables farmers in this country to grow crops that help produce safe, affordable, high-quality British food".

France's biggest farm union, the FNSEA hailed the EU's "pragmatic" decision to extend the chemical's licence, and deplored France's decision to "isolate" itself from the rest of the bloc.

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