EU ignites glyphosate row over licence proposal
The EU has reopened a bitter row over the world's most notorious weedkiller, glyphosate, by proposing to extend its licence for 10 years.
Ireland supports the move by the bloc's health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, who was unapologetic despite a long-running row over whether the chemical causes cancer.
"Our position is based on a very thorough assessment," Mr Andriukaitis told the Farming Independent in an interview following the decision last week.
"This chemical is under scrutiny, under regulation, under thorough risk management, under thorough risk assessment, under thorough rules."
The proposal has to be approved by a majority of EU countries representing a majority of the population, meaning it requires France, Germany or Italy on board.
But it is unclear whether they would vote in favour of a 10-year extension to glyphosate's licence, which runs out at the end of this year. No date has yet been set for a vote.
Farmers would have liked to see glyphosate approved for another 15 years, the standard for most chemicals, with EU farming lobby Copa-Cogeca saying it "regrets" the Commission's decision to reauthorise the weedkiller for only 10 years,
Glyphosate, first developed and marketed by Monsanto in the 1970s under the name RoundUp, is the world's most-used weedkiller.