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Commission renews approval of glyphosate herbicide for 5 years

Commission renews approval of glyphosate herbicide for 5 years

Crop spraying

(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission renewed for 5 years EU approval of glyphosate Tuesday, following scientific assessment which it says concludes there is no link between glyphosate and cancer in humans.

At the same time, the EU executive issued its formal response to European Citizens Initiative (ECI) #StopGlyphosate, saying it saw no scientific or legal grounds for a ban of glyphosate, and adding that EU Member States had voted in favour of a five-year licence.

In addition, in its response to the ECI, the Commission announced measures to make the process to authorise, restrict or ban the use of pesticides more transparent in the future.

The Communication sets out the way forward: it provides a detailed explanation of EU rules on pesticides; it announced a legislative proposal for spring 2018 to enhance the transparency, quality and independence of scientific assessments of substances, such as public access to raw data; and it announces future amendments to the legislation to 'strengthen the governance of the conduct of relevant studies'. It says this could include the involvement of public authorities in the process of deciding which studies need to be conducted for a specific case.

In approving the glyphosate licence for 5 years, the Commission says that while 15 years is the period that the Commission usually proposes for authorisations when all approval criteria are met, it admits that glyphosate is no routine case.

It says it has discussed the issue several times as it worked toward a decision which it says needed the broadest possible support by Member States, while at the same time ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment in line with EU legislation. It adds its final proposal for a 5 year renewal took into account the latest non-binding Resolutions adopted by the European Parliament.

Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis made a point that it was "important that Member States assume their responsibility when it comes to the authorisation of pesticides in their own markets."They must also ensure that pesticides are used sustainably and in full compliance with label requirements," he added.

Greenpeace criticised the Commission's response to the ECI. It said this "ignores the fact that the Commission proposal is supposed to take into account the scientific evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), scientific uncertainties that persist (applying the precautionary principle) and "other factors legitimate to the matter". In addition to investigating the evident flaws in the EFSA health risk assessment, the Commission should have taken into account the classification of the UN cancer research agency, the existing scientific evidence on the unacceptable environmental risks posed by glyphosate and significant public concern.

All documents, including the related decisions adopted today by the Commission, will be available here.

Questions and answers: Commission's reply to ECI on Glyphosate

Approval of pesticides in the EU

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