Farm Ireland

Monday 19 March 2018

Approvals process for pesticides faces shake-up

Sarah Collins

The EU’s labyrinthine approval process for pesticides, genetically modified foods and other chemicals is under review.

The European Commission wants governments to take more responsibility for approving chemicals following a row over controversial weedkiller glyphosate.

It wants to make public how each country votes, escalate approvals to national ministers in case of a stalemate and stop counting the votes of countries who abstain.

“It is not right that when EU countries cannot decide among themselves whether or not to ban the use of glyphosate in herbicides, the Commission is forced by Parliament and Council to take a decision,” Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said last year.

Meanwhile, MEPs are calling on the Commission to legislate to allow for fast-track approvals of low-risk biological pesticides, made from bio-organisms, pheromones or essential oils.

Only seven substances classified as “low risk” have been approved for use in the EU.

They want to promote the use of more climate-friendly chemicals.

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