Failed again. EU member states failed to reach an agreement this Thursday, November 16, during a second vote on Brussels’ proposal to renew the authorization of glyphosate for ten years. The qualified majority required to validate or reject the text – i.e. 15 states out of 27, representing at least 65% of the European population – was not reached. Shortly after the vote, the European Commission, which de facto had the final decision, confirmed that it was renewingshe will authorization.
“ The Commission, together with EU Member States, will now proceed to renew the approval of glyphosate for a period of ten years, subject to certain new conditions and restrictions », indicated the institution in a press release published this Thursday morning.
The Commission is proposing to renew its green light until December 2033. It is following the recommendations of a report from a European regulator estimating that the level of risk did not justify banning the controversial herbicide. As a reminder, the current authorization of glyphosate in the EU, renewed in 2017 for five years, then extended for an additional year, was due to expire on December 15.
Same disagreement a month ago
On October 13, a previous vote of the Twenty-Seven had led to the same result. It also showed to what extent the 27 member states were divided on the issue. If many countries from the South and East supported the re-authorization, Austria and Luxembourg had expressed their desire to vote against.
And, as a result of the divisions in the ruling coalition in Berlin, Germany announced “ not to accept » the extension of the authorization. Finally, Belgium and the Netherlands indicated that they would abstain. France, the EU’s leading agricultural power, abstained.
“ Probable carcinogen »
Glyphosate, the active substance in several herbicides – including Monsanto’s Roundup, widely used around the world – was classified in 2015 as ” probable carcinogen » by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization. According to the agency, “ case-control studies of occupational exposure conducted in Sweden, the United States and Canada have shown increased risks of non-Hodgkin lymphoma » (a blood cancer).
The WHO said it had “ limited evidence “, but experts considered them sufficient to warn of a carcinogenic effect in humans. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (CIRC), “ convincing evidence » show that glyphosate can also cause cancer in laboratory animals.
Conversely, in July, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) indicated that it had not identified any “ area of critical concern » in humans, animals and the environment likely to prevent the authorization of the herbicide. It only noted a risk in mammals for half of the proposed uses, and recognized that a lack of data prevented any definitive analysis.
To take these opinions into account, Brussels is proposing some safeguards, in particular with the establishment “ by default ” of ” buffer strips » and equipment reducing “ spray drifts », while use for desiccation (spreading to dry a crop before harvest) would be prohibited. Furthermore, each State will remain responsible for authorizing products containing glyphosate, by setting the rules of use according to crops, climatic conditions and geographical specificities.