Glyphosate has been authorised in the EU for another 5 years

Il glifosato è stato autorizzato per altri cinque anni in Europa. I paesi hanno raggiunto la maggioranza qualificata grazie (o a causa del) al cambio di rotta della Germania.

In the end they made it. The European countries of the Plants, Animals, Food and Feed Committee (PAFF) have reached an agreement and voted to renew the authorisation for glyphosate, the world’s most used herbicide and the primary ingredient in the product Roundup, synthetized by agrochemical giant Monsanto. The original proposal of the European Commission was a 10-year renewal, until 2027.

18 countries voted in favour, 9 against (including Italy and France), while only one abstained. The motion needed the approval of 55 per cent of the 28 member states representing at least 65 per cent of the population.

Germany was the country that played a crucial as it allowed reaching a qualified majority after two years of debate. Germany’s vote, among other things, has divided Berlin’s government as Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said via Twitter that the vote took place without her consent and in contrast to the deal with Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt.

Read also: The human cost of agrotoxins. How glyphosate is killing Argentina

What the European Parliament wanted on glyphosate

  • Ban household use now, agricultural use by end 2022
  • Risk assessments by the EU Commission must be made public
  • EU countries to vote on renewing glyphosate licence on Wednesday

“Today’s vote shows that when we all want to, we are able to share and accept our collective responsibility in decision making,” said Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis.

Pro-glyphosate and anti-glyphosate

Commenting the vote, Greenpeace EU Food Policy Director Franziska Achterberg said, “The people who are supposed to protect us from dangerous pesticides have failed to do their jobs and betrayed the trust Europeans place in them. The European Commission and most governments have chosen to ignore the warnings of independent scientists, the demands of the European Parliament and the petition signed by more than one million people calling for a glyphosate ban.”

Francesca Belpoggi, head of the Cesare Maltoni cancer research centre of the Istituto Ramazzini based in Bologna, Italy, suggested to re-authorised glyphosate for no more than five years because at that time “we will have the results of our long-term study” that “will clarify the possible risks” and “if early diseases can be linked to serious diseases like cancer”. Also, “in case of negative results, they will clarify all doubts, debate and criticisms on this chemical product”.

The long-term study, started in 2015, also involves the cancer research institute of Genova, the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine of New York and the George Washington University.

soia ogm glifosato
Herbicide glyphosate has been defined “probably carcinogenic” for umans

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the United Nations has defined glyphosate “probably carcinogenic” for humans as it found a “positive association between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin lymphoma in laboratory animals”.

The European Commission now has to implement PAFF’s decision to regulate glyphosate ahead of 15 December, when its current authorisation expires.

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