Tuesday

23rd Jul 2019

Seven of 28 EU states give feedback on glyphosate plan

  • The possible renewal of the glyphosate license has led to citizens' protests (Photo: Felix Kindermann / Campact)

Only one in four EU member states responded to the European Commission's request to put their thoughts about the licence renewal of glyphosate on paper.

The commission, the EU's executive, asked national governments to send "written comments" on its proposal to renew the license of the herbicide for 10 years.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

A Commission spokeswoman told EUobserver on Monday (4 September) that seven member states had done so. She did not want to disclose which ones.

The question whether to renew the permit to sell glyphosate in the EU has become a controversial subject.

Although the European Food Safety Authority has declared the pesticide to be safe, there are worries among citizens' groups that glyphosate can cause cancer.

In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer gave glyphosate the classification "probably carcinogenic to humans", or Group 2A.

Other agents in Group 2A are anabolic steroids, red meat, and the human papillomavirus (HPV) type 68.

Qualified majority

Last year, the European standing committee on plants, animals, food and feed (Paff) postponed the vote on renewing the glyphosate licence several times because it was clear there was no qualified majority among member states to support it.

A qualified majority, or double majority, means that at least 16 of 28 member states must be in favour, and that the member states in favour must represent at least 65 percent of the EU's population.

As a compromise, the EU commission proposed to renew the license for 10 years, instead of the regular 15 years.

At the Paff meeting of 20 July, it asked member states to comment on its proposal. The commission called on states to send their comments in the next 15 days or, "if not possible given the summer holidays", by last Friday (1 September).

According to spokespeople at national governments contacted by EUobserver, the following member states did not respond to that request: at least Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Romania, and Sweden. Latvia, Poland, and Romania added they did support the proposal.

Sources from Finland and Hungary noted that that their countries supported the commission's proposal, but were unsure if it had been communicated in a document.

The Netherlands, where political parties are still negotiating a coalition agreement, has no definitive position.

Germany, France, UK

The absence of a reply from the two largest EU member states, Germany and France, is notable.

In Germany, it is unlikely that a position will be reached before the 24 September elections. The country's agriculture ministry is led by a politician from the centre-right Christian Social Union, while the environment department is run by a centre-left Social Democrat.

Meanwhile in France, which saw a new government elected in May, the environment ministry reportedly wants to vote against renewal.

The United Kingdom did respond to the commission's call, a spokeswoman for the country's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs told EUobserver.

"We recognise the importance of effective pesticides and UK experts agree with the conclusions of the European Food Safety Authority and the European Chemicals Agency Committee for Risk Assessment, which show that glyphosate is not likely to cause harm to people," she said, adding that the UK government therefore supports the continuing approval of glyphosate.

The next Paff committee meeting in which the issue can be discussed, is scheduled for 5 and 6 October. The latest possible vote is on 6 November 2017. Without a decision then, the license will expire at the end of the year.

Doubts over EU chemical agency after weedkiller study

Green MEPs and health pressure groups said the European Chemicals Agency could be suffering from conflicts of interest, after it said there wasn't enough evidence to prove that the world's most widely used weedkiller causes cancer.

EU declines to renew glyphosate licence

Member states did not agree on conditions to renew the permit for the chemical used in pesticides, amid contradictory evidence on a possible cancer link.

EU agencies defend research ahead of glyphosate vote

As the renewal of the weedkiller glyphosate is a hot potato on the EU agenda, with a vote in the Parliament on Thursday, the role of two closely-involved EU agencies has come under scrutiny.

Analysis

Bayer-Monsanto merger could harm EU food sector

Mega-mergers in the food sector have become commonplace, but EU laws do little to help it keep check on the impact this could have on the environment, public health, and food security.

Focus

Health MEPs want to phase out glyphosate by 2020

A committee resolution said the proposal to renew the glyphosate permit for a decade "fails to ensure a high level of protection of both human and animal health and the environment".

News in Brief

  1. UK foreign office minister quits ahead of Johnson as PM
  2. AKK to boost Bundeswehr budget to Nato target
  3. Police arrest 25 after Polish LGBT-march attack
  4. Ukrainian president's party tops parliament election
  5. EU interior ministers to meet in Paris on migration
  6. Schinas nominated as Greek commissioner
  7. Sea-Watch captain hopes for change in EU migrant rules
  8. Russia willing to join EU payment scheme on Iran deal

Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'

Following an investigation into the Dieselgate scandal, the European Parliament recommended a single commissioner should be responsible for both air quality and setting industrial standards. But only the Greens want to commit to carry out that advice.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. As Johnson set to become PM, ministers pledge to resign
  2. Poland's PiS prepares 'failsafe' for October election
  3. Abortion Wars
  4. EU goes on holiday as new UK PM arrives This WEEK
  5. Survey: Half of EU staff 'don't know' ethics rules
  6. Von der Leyen signals soft touch on migrants, rule of law
  7. Timmermans: von der Leyen will be tough on rule of law
  8. Timmermans trolls 'idiot' Brexit negotiators

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us