EU hits deadlock over licence for Roundup herbicide
EU countries hit deadlock on the future of weed-killer glyphosate that some experts say causes cancer, with the European Commission urging them to reconsider its proposal to allow its use to continue for five years.
Europe has been wrestling for two years over what to do with the chemical, a key ingredient in Monsanto Co’s top-selling weed-killer Roundup.
The chemical has been used by farmers for more than 40 years, but its use was cast in doubt when the World Health Organization’s cancer agency concluded in 2015 it probably causes cancer.
The European Chemical Agency said in March this year, however, there was no evidence linking it to cancer in humans. A large long-term study published on Thursday of agricultural workers in the United States also found no link.
On Thursday, the European Union’s 28 countries failed to approve or reject the Commission’s proposal for a five-year extension to the licence allowing glyphosate to be used.
Fourteen countries voted in favour, nine against and five abstained, not enough to secure a “qualified majority” under EU voting rules, the Commission said, adding that it would resubmit its proposal in the next two weeks, before the current authorisation expires on Dec. 15.
In theory, the Commission could then push through the extension but it would prefer the governments make the call on an issue that has become politically charged.
France said it would push for a renewal of just three years.