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Glyphosate Task Force laments extreme politicisation of EU renewal process that is supposed to be based on science

The Glyphosate Task Force (GTF) notes that the European Commission, in the interest of avoiding an expiration of the current European authorisation for glyphosate, advanced a compromise proposal to extend the current approval period by another 18 months, until the end of 2017. This proposal was not supported by a sufficient number of Member States at the Standing Committee meeting on June 6th.

The sudden expiration of the approval would entail serious consequences for European farmers, who rely on glyphosate as a reliable and effective tool for weed management and the protection of crop yields.

“The indecision among Member States and the need for an extension are highly regrettable and a sad sign of how politically charged the glyphosate renewal process has become,” said GTF Chairman Richard Garnett.

Considering the extensive scientific evaluation carried out by the relevant EU agencies which concluded that glyphosate poses no unacceptable risks either to human health or to the environment, the renewal should have been a straightforward process resulting in a standard 15-year renewal. The initial proposal published last week by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) also supports the conclusions, reached in all previous regulatory evaluations, that glyphosate is unlikely to be carcinogenic.

Any decision to extend the current approval, rather than vote on a proposal to re-authorise glyphosate for another 15 years, sets an unwelcome precedent. It is clear that certain Member States are no longer basing their positions on scientific evidence, which is meant to be the guiding principle of the process, as emphasised recently by Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitus.

Last update: 06 June 2016