FARMING: Cork MEP welcomes new 5 year license for glyphosate

Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide in a gardening store in Lille France

Many farmers, who say the substance is safe, had wanted a 15-year extension.

Under EU rules, 16 favourable votes are needed as a "qualified majority" for renewal before authorisation expires on December 15.

The UK and 17 other European Union member states yesterday backed a five year extension to glyphosate's licence, which was due to expire next month. The Commission had initially proposed a 10-year extension on glyphosate use, which was rejected by the majority of countries who voted.

"Today's vote shows that when we all want to, we are able to share and accept our collective responsibility in decision making", said health and food safety commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis.

After months of indecisive votes among the 28 member states in Brussels, Germany, whose Chancellor Angela Merkel has yet to form a new coalition after a September election, came off the fence after abstaining in previous meetings.

However, there was controversy in Germany yesterday after its Agricultural Minister Christian Schmidt voted in fvour of the motion without consent from the Environmental Minister.

"Anyone who is interested on developing trust between two parties can not behave that way", she said.




"Glyphosate damages nature, probably causes cancer, and props up an industrial farming system that is degrading the land we need to feed ourselves".

But earlier European Union countries broke months of deadlock on Monday when they voted to renew the licence for the controversial weedkiller glyphosate for five years after heavyweight Germany surprisingly voted in favour despite health concerns.

The EU risk assessment process on glypyhosate has been mired in controversy, as the United Nations cancer agency differed to EFSA and ECHA in its conclusions regarding the safety of the herbicide.

In 2015, the World Health Organisation's cancer agency, the IARC, famously declared glyphosate "probably carcinogenic to humans", although several global agencies, including Efsa, subsequently came to opposite conclusions.

A re-run of the struggle to reauthorise glyphosate will now begin again in two years' time, with a new safety assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa).

More than 280 similar lawsuits are now pending against Monsanto, according to the USA right to know campaign.

France, which tried in vain to convince its European partners to renew the licence for only three years, voted against.

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