After several meetings without consensus, a few days after the current license to use glyphosate expires and with the support of 18 countries, the European Union agreed to renew it until 2022.
In a context of strong opposition from citizens, experts from the European Commission's appeal committee issued "A favorable opinion" with a qualified majority for the use of the herbicide.
The countries that gave the favorable vote are: Spain, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Regarding the last vote on November 9, the majority has been possible thanks to the change of position of Germany, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania
They held against Belgium, Greece, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta and Austria. And Portugal abstained from voting.
According to the EC, the voted proposal has "The widest possible support" Member States to ensure"A high level of protection of human health and the environment in line with European legislation"added the sources.
The voting conditions to continue with the herbicide license consisted of obtaining a qualified majority given by 55% of the member countries, representing 65% of the population.
Belgium, dissatisfied with the position taken by the Member States, issued a statement informing that it will contact other countries that have voted against the renewal to seek alternatives to this renewal.
Luxembourg's Minister of the Environment, Carole Dieschbourg, asked the EU for "a clear signal to phase out glyphosate ”.
The herbicide Glyphosate
Glyphosate is theworld's most widely used herbicide and the multinational Monsanto, which markets it under the “RoundUp” brand, one of the largest agrochemical producers. The safety of the product is questioned in various parts of the world and cases have come, for example, to the courts in the United States.
In Europe, glyphosate has also reached the Court of Justice of the European Union (EU), where the group of The Greens in the European Parliament denounced a few months ago the "lack of transparency" of the reports of the European Agency for Food Safety (EFSA) on the herbicide in which they observe a “potential conflict of interest”.
The reaction of companies and organizations
After knowing the result of the vote, the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, said that the renewal decision shows "collective responsibility in decision-making."
The association that brings together the crop industry, ECPA, which has positioned itself in favor of the herbicide, considered that a five-year license is "disappointing" and a decision "influenced by fear and not by facts."
While on the other hand, the campaign director of the Avaaz organization, Luis Morago, promoter of acollection of signatures against glyphosate with almost two million supporters, he criticized Germany for "giving in to corporate pressure, ignoring its own citizens and the European Parliament, to give the chemical industry an early Christmas present."
"Monsanto thought with closed eyes that it would gain 15 years of glyphosate, but it has had to fight tooth and nail for five years with restrictions," he added in a statement.
Franziska Achterberg, director of food policies at Greenpeace, said that the European Commission and the countries that have endorsed his proposal "have decided to ignore the alerts of independent scientists, the requests of the European Parliament and the petition signed by more than a million citizens" .
Monsanto also released its opinion, in its comments confirmed that the safety of glyphosate “has been endorsed by European scientific authorities (ECHA and EFSA), the authorities of Member States such as the German BfR and by those of countries around the world. like the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Japan, among others ”.
The person in charge of Agriculture of Greenpeace-Spain, Luis Ferreirim, has declared as "regrettable" that the countries that make up the EU "have not done their job and have betrayed the trust" that citizens place in them. According to Ferreirim, the EU has chosen to "ignore the warnings of scientists", which warned of the danger to humans of this herbicide.
The head of Agriculture and Food of the Friends of the Earth association, Blanca Ruibal also expressed her opinion: "We regret that Europe in the end has opted to renew the license, even if it is for only five years."
With information from: