Tuesday

18th Sep 2018

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. EU investigating BMW, Daimler and VW 'collusion'
  2. Spain wants special Gibraltar chapter in Brexit deal
  3. Italy cancels Vienna talks over South Tyrol 'dual citizenship'
  4. Britain will not accept Brexit deal with Irish Sea border
  5. Slovakia seeks witness to journalist killing
  6. Finland's Stubb considers running for EU commission job
  7. Romania ponders anti same-sex marriage referendum
  8. EU lawyers back Slovenia in Croatia border dispute

Focus

EU-China cooperation on CO2 storage lost in limbo

A long-standing cooperation between the EU and China on carbon capture and storage has fallen off the political agenda – with the European Commission not having any comment available when asked for an update.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  4. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  5. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  6. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  7. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  8. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  9. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  10. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want

Latest News

  1. EU promotes 'Egypt model' to reduce migrant numbers
  2. Tensions mount over Kosovo-Serbia deal
  3. New book: Why war is coming
  4. EU parliament will not budge on office expenses
  5. Why Orban's project to reshape EU politics will be unsuccessful
  6. 10 years after Lehman Brothers what has changed for EU consumers?
  7. Sefcovic launches bid to be EU Commission president
  8. Is Russia blackmailing the Council of Europe?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  2. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  4. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  5. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  8. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  10. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  12. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us