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Growing number of EU governments oppose re-approval of glyphosate

25 October 2017
by greenpeace -- last modified 25 October 2017

Amid mounting political and public opposition to glyphosate - a controversial and widely used weedkiller - representatives of European governments have again rejected the Commission’s proposal to grant glyphosate a new licence. A final vote has been postponed to November.


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Reacting to the news, Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg said: "Glyphosate is the asbestos of our generation. It's everywhere and the dangers are known. The damage it causes to the environment and our health has been exposed. Monsanto's interference in the science has been exposed. Today the Commission failed for the fifth time in a row to get sufficient support from European governments to renew glyphosate's licence. The tables are turning and unless the Commission backs a ban, it will continue to fail."

There is growing opposition to a renewal of glyphosate's licence. According to media reports, since the last vote in 2016, four countries supporting a licence now oppose it (Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia, Sweden) and four countries who abstained now oppose it (Austria, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg). Bulgaria has moved from abstaining to supporting.

Today, media reports indicate that ten countries indicated that they would vote against a ten-year renewal of the glyphosate licence (Belgium, Greece, Croatia, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Austria, Slovenia and Sweden), while two countries abstained (Germany and Portugal). Sixteen countries said they would vote in favour (Bulgaria, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Finland and the U.K.).

The European Parliament has also called for a full glyphosate ban within five years, starting with a partial ban this year. In 2016 the Parliament had supported a new seven-year licence.

Over one million people have signed a European citizen's initiative calling for a glyphosate ban, while recent polling shows growing concern and overwhelming support for a ban across five EU countries (Germany, France, Italy, Portugal and Greece).

Since early 2016, the Commission has backed an unrestricted EU licence for glyphosate. On five occasions it failed to garner sufficient support from European governments (on 8 March 2016, 19 May 2016, 6 June 2016 and 24 June 2016).

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.

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