European Union breaks stalemate to renew licence on controversial weedkiller

Nov 28, 2017, 00:52

European Union agriculture commissioner, Phil Hogan, welcomed the vote, while his health and food safety counterpart also hailed the fact there was a qualified majority.

Greenpeace's Franziska Achterberg said: "The people who are supposed to protect us from unsafe pesticides have failed to do their jobs and betrayed the trust Europeans place in them". Under EU rules, 16 favorable votes are needed as a "qualified majority" for renewal before authorization expires on December 15.

Germany had been expected to abstain again, but agricultural minister Christian Schmidt has been accused of defying instructions by environment minister Barbara Hendricks after he voted in favour.

"Exactly two hours before the beginning of the meeting..."

The previous abstention was a compromise between opposition to glyphosate in the environmental ministry and support for it in the agriculture ministry.

Schmidt, whose Christian Social Union is the sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, told the Rheinische Post that Germany had voted for the agreement because of conditions that will "strengthen the role of biodiversity and animal protection".

Banning glyphosate outright would have shaken Europe's agriculture sector, since it is so widely used.

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".

The decision makes renewal more hard for the product....

Monsanto insists glyphosate meets the standards required to renew its European licence.

The Commission plan is based on a flawed health risk assessment of glyphosate, which states there is insufficient evidence of a cancer link, despite the WHO's classification of the weedkiller as a probable cause of cancer.

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