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European Parliament News Item, 24 October 2017
Parliament backed a full ban on glyphosate-based herbicides by December 2022 and immediate restrictions on the use of the substance, on Tuesday.
Parliament 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 15 December 2022, with the necessary intermediate steps, MEPs say.
Concerns over scientific assessments of the substance
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 chemicals 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.
The non-binding resolution was adopted by 355 votes to 204, with 111 abstentions. 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.