EU Commission intervenes in glyphosate dispute
Published 29/06/2016 | 02:30
The European Commission has been forced to step in to solve a dispute over the reauthorisation of weedkiller glyphosate after EU countries failed to reach an agreement last week, reports Sarah Collins.
Glyphosate has been authorised in the EU since 2002, but the science is split over whether it causes cancer.
A vote in an EU appeals committee on June 24 failed to garner the necessary majority to extend the authorisation for a suggested 12-18 months, leaving the fate of the world's most-used herbicide in doubt.
Although 19 EU countries, including Ireland and the UK, voted in favour, large member states including Germany and Italy abstained, while France joined Malta in voting against, meaning the authorisation fell short of the "qualified" majority needed under EU rules.
Bulgaria also withdrew its previous support of the proposal and abstained in the vote.
"The Commission regrets that no decision could be taken by the Member States, in spite of its efforts over recent weeks to accommodate requests and concerns from a number of national governments, as well as from the European Parliament," a European Commission spokesperson said.
EU commissioners were due to discuss the issue in their weekly meeting yesterday to try to find a way out of the impasse, but were consumed by the fallout from the UK's vote to leave the EU last week.
The Commission has until Thursday to intervene or watch glyphosate's authorisation expire, giving farmers, gardeners and public authorities until December 2018 to stop using products including Monsanto's Roundup.