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The indecision around the vote on re-licensing Glyphosate continues.

Yesterday saw another failed attempt by the EU to come to a conclusion regarding the re-licensing of Glyphosate for the now reduced term of five years. The contenscious topic is continuing to cause a split between the voting countries. The pressure is now mounting for a decision to be made as there is just over a month before the license will expire in mid December. Matthew Appleby for Horticulture Week spoke about the decision. Read below for the full article.

Crucial glyphosate decision delayed yet again

9 November 2017, by Matthew Appleby picture of glyphosate sat on a shop shelf.

A vote on glyphosate for a five-year renewal has been deferred after the EU failed again to vote on the re-licencing of the glyphosate, and with the licence due to expire on 15 December, time is running out to make a decision.

The proposal had been cut from a 15-year extension.

The Commission says it will resubmit the proposal for glyphosate and it will go to an appeal committee of higher-level members on 27/28 November.

France said it would vote against a five year renewal proposal, and wants a three year phase-out, as do Germany, which abstained.

A ‘qualified majority’ is 55 per cent of countries representing 65 per cent of the EU’s population. There were 14 countries in favour of five years, nine against and five abstentions. Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, Lithuania, Hungary, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia Finland, UK Sweden and Italy want a five-year renewal. Belgium, Greece, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta and Austria were against. Abstainers were Germany, Bulgaria, Poland, Portugal and Romania. The UK supports a 10-year reauthorisation.

Response to this morning’s SCoPAFF meeting, where members failed to reach a qualified majority on glyphosate included this from Crop Protection Association chief executive Sarah Mukherjee: “It is disappointing that some Member States are continuing to politicise glyphosate, publicly blocking the reauthorisation whilst privately urging the Commission to reapprove. They are ignoring the science and therefore risking the livelihoods of European farmers and the continued availability of safe, healthy, affordable food for consumers.

“We urge the Commission to now take action and grant the standard 15 year licence. Anything less undermines the work of independent, expert regulators at EFSA and ECHA who all agree glyphosate is safe. The loss of glyphosate risks significant damage to the economy, the environment and the agricultural sector in Europe.”

NFU vice president Guy Smith said the issue was “political football” and the EC needed to “grasp this nettle.”

The NFU’s Dr Chris Hartfield said: “Our position is we want the EU to hold the line and follow science and the advice if EFSA and ECHA and reauthorise glyphosate for the maximum term. There’s no reason why it should not be renewed for 15 years but we’re now looking at less than that.”

Green MEP Molly Scott Cato said: “Once again the Commission have failed to come to an agreement with member states about the renewal of the licence for the toxic herbicide glyphosate. They have ignored the huge pressure from civil society and from some countries in the EU who want a ban on this toxic substance and evidence that shows glyphosate is ‘probably carcinogenic’, as well as damaging to biodiversity and soil health.”

Weedingtech’s  CEO Leo de Montaignac said: “Today marks the third time Europe has delayed making a decision on glyphosate. This ongoing stalemate provides us with time to examine the facts of the debate which is not as black and white as it might appear. Conflating the use of glyphosate in municipal settings with that in agriculture ignores a sensible compromise that exists by implementing a sensible and staggered ban. The use of glyphosate could be restricted now in amenity and municipal areas and then phased out in agriculture in a few years when the alternative market has matured a little further. I would urge those involved in policy, agriculture, exports and chemicals to use this additional time to assess the merits of the vote itself and the wider strategy of removing glyphosate where possible in a timely manner.”

More reaction to follow.