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16th Dec 2018

EU will formally renew glyphosate on 12 December

The European Commission will formalise on 12 December Monday's decision by member states to renew for five years the licence for the herbicide glyphosate.

The decision by EU countries, agreed after 18 months of debate, will then enter into force.

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The EU executive will also reply to Europeans who asked for a ban of the weedkiller glyphosate, used in Monsanto's Roundup, and more generally "examine the options on how to clarify and optimise the rules applicable on scientific studies" - which were the basis of assessment about herbicide safety for human health, a Commission spokeswoman said on Tuesday (28 November).

The 'Stop Glyphosate' petition was signed by over 1.3 million Europeans and called for a complete ban of glyphosate and more transparent scientific evaluations of pesticides in future.

The petition said that "changes in the EU scientific evaluation procedures for pesticides" are needed, since studies to support pesticide approvals are largely based on studies that are commissioned and submitted by the pesticide producers themselves."

The EU licence renewal process of glyphosate relies on studies prepared by the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), stating that the weed-killer does not present a risk to human health.

This was despite the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classification of glyphosate as "probably carcinogenetic".

Earlier this year, a US court published hundred of Monsanto's emails showing that the company was involved in at least two academic reports on glyphosate.

Media reports, including by EUobserver and Dutch magazine OneWorld, have shown that Efsa conclusions on the safety of glyphosate were partially based on scientific evidence provided by Monsanto, Roundup's manufacturer.

On 19 October, also the European Parliament expressed doubts over the scientific evaluations of glyphosate carried out by the European agencies.

EU fails again to agree glyphosate renewal

Member states failed to agree on a licence renewal for weedkiller glyphosate. A new vote will take place before 22 November at the European Commission's appeal committee.

EU glyphosate vote hits German coalition

Chancellor Merkel disowned her agriculture minister over his decision to back a renewal of the weedkiller's licence as the issue pits Social Democrats against Christian Democrats ahead of coalition talks.

MEPs to look for 'bullet-proof' pesticide approval

After the controversial glyphosate authorisation renewal saga, a new European Parliament committee will review future authorisation procedures, in a bid to avoid scientific and procedural mistakes. Its composition will be voted on by MEPs on Thursday.

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