The European Parliament has today objected to the European Commission’s proposal to extend the EU licence for glyphosate by ten years. The resolution passed by MEPs calls on the Commission not to renew the licence at the end of the year, and for the substance to be phased out entirely within five years.
This vote, which is non-binding, comes ahead of tomorrow's vote in the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed on the proposals. It has been welcomed by the UK's Green MEPs.
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East and a member of the European Parliament's Environment and Public Health Committee, said:
"MEPs have sent an important message to the European Commission today: we're prepared to take on the might of Monsanto to protect our citizens from toxic chemicals. I'm pleased to join so many of my colleagues in standing up for the health and well-being of the people we have been elected to represent. The vast majority of EU citizens want to see glyphosate banned."
“Glyphosate-containing herbicides are used to control plants considered to be weeds, or to clear vegetation. But, and it is difficult to overstate the importance of this, the World Health Organisation has concluded, following a comprehensive review of the published scientific data, this controversial toxic substance is 'probably carcinogenic'. Monsanto - the US agrochemical giant that produces most of the world's supply of glyphosate - has known this for a long time but has spent years manipulating studies to cover up the cancer risks - as today's latest investigation in Der Spiegel reveals."
"Furthermore, a study by Friends of Earth reveals that the chemical also has a significant unintended impact on other plants, insects, and animals. These ‘non-target’ organisms can experience direct toxic effects from the herbicide, or be indirectly affected by changes to ecosystems or food resources."
"Today's vote is a reminder that we are better positioned to take on the might of vested multinational interests by working together with our closest neighbours in the EU."
Molly Scott Cato MEP, who sits on the Agriculture Committee and is Green Party speaker on Brexit, said:
“We don’t have to smother our food in toxins; a wide range of alternative approaches to tackling weeds and pest exist and are being successfully used across Europe. We need to support farmers who are turning to chemical-free methods by offering adequate financial support and incentives, training and information sharing mechanisms."
“If Michael Gove’s green Brexit means anything it has to mean supporting a ban on glyphosate and funding moves towards chemical-free agriculture.”
If the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed fails to reach a qualified majority in favour of the glyphosate renewal proposal, the final decision will fall to the Commission.