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Monday 24 September 2018

MEPs demand glyphosate phase-out, with full ban by end 2022

European Parliament and Commission at odds on glyphosate stance

Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller that contains glyphosate for sale in France. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller that contains glyphosate for sale in France. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

MEPs have voted to back a full ban on glyphosate-based herbicides by the end of 2022 along with immediate restrictions on the product.

The Parliament's stance opposes the European Commission’s proposal to renew the controversial herbicide licence for 10 years.

Instead, MEPs say the EU should draw up plans to phase out the substance, starting with a complete ban on household use and a ban in use for farming when biological alternatives (i.e. “integrated pest management systems”) work well for weed control.

Glyphosate should be completely banned in the EU by December 15, 2022, with the necessary intermediate steps, MEPs say.

The EU risk assessment process before renewing the substance’s licence was mired in controversy, as the UN cancer agency and EU food safety and chemical agencies came to different conclusions regarding its safety.

Moreover, the release of the so-called “Monsanto Papers”, internal documents from the company which owns and produces Roundup, of which glyphosate is the main active substance, shed doubt on the credibility of some studies used in the EU evaluation on glyphosate safety, say MEPs.

The EU’s authorisation procedure, including the scientific evaluation of substances, should be based only on published, peer-reviewed and independent studies commissioned by competent public authorities, MEPs say.

EU agencies should be beefed up in order to allow them to work in this way.

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Next steps

The non-binding resolution was adopted by 355 votes to 204, with 111 abstentions. Now EU Member States will vote on a Commission proposal to renew the marketing authorisation of glyphosate on Wednesday.

A European Citizen’s initiative calling for a ban on the herbicide reached more than a million signatures in less than a year and will trigger a public hearing in Parliament in November.


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