The European Commission is reauthorizing use of glyphosate herbicide for 10 years but is adding some new restrictions, including a ban on pre-harvest applications as a desiccant.
The commission said Thursday it was proceeding with the glyphosate renewal after member states of the European Union were unable to reach the required majority -– 55% of the 27 member states representing at least 65% of the population – to reauthorize the chemical via that process. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup.
"In line with EU legislation,” the commission said it had to make a decision by Dec. 15, when the current approval expires.
The commission said it based its decision “on comprehensive safety assessments carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), together with EU member states.”
The new restrictions on glyphosate usage in the EU also will include “certain measures to protect non-target organisms," the commission said.
In addition, the EC said countries “continue to be able to restrict their use at national and regional level if they consider this necessary based on the outcome of risk assessments, particularly factoring in the need to protect biodiversity.”
There was immediate criticism from some in the European Parliament. The chair of the Environment Committee, Pascal Canfin, went on X to criticize European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, saying the decision “does not have the support of the three largest agri countries of our continent – France, Germany and Italy. I deeply regret it. It’s not the Europe I like.”
France abstained from the vote, according to press reports.
Environmental groups have been pushing for a ban in the EU. Two days before the vote, Greenpeace urged member nations to vote against approval of the chemical.
Pesticide Action Network Europe said the commission was ignoring "independent science and citizens’ concerns."
Angeliki Lysimachou, head of science and policy for the group, said "there is alarming evidence highlighting the cancer risks associated with glyphosate, along with the myriad of other reported adverse effects.”
European farmers group COPA-COGECA, said glyphosate is essential to implement conservation practices and the Glyphosate Renewal Group, made up of companies that want to keep the authorization in place, said it welcomed the commission’s statement.
“Keeping the farmers’ toolbox well equipped with effective and safe tools to control weeds is essential, not only to contribute to a more secure European food supply, but – when combined with a range of new farming solutions – also to facilitate the continuation of conservation and regenerative farming systems that allow farmers to achieve long-term invasive weed control without ploughing (no-till),” the GRG said. “This, in turn, means farmers can reduce soil erosion, improve water holding capacity and soil structure, and invigorate soil ecosystems.”
Bayer said the "reauthorization allows us to continue to provide important integrated weed management technology to farmers across the European Union," according to Reuters. The company has been involved in long-running litigation in the U.S. over the safety of Roundup.
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