In debate since 2015, Europe has today decided ... towards the extension of the authorization of the RoundUp despite health risks to human health and wildlife. Indeed, member states agreed Monday to re-authorize for 5 glyphosate at an appeal committee after more than two years of intense debate on this controversial herbicide
It's a surprise, three weeks before the expiry date of the current license, as the divisions seemed insurmountable, Glyphosate having become a societal issue after its classification as "probable carcinogenIn May 2015 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (a body of WHO).
The nine countries that had already said no in a first vote November 9 have camped on their position, according to European sources, the poll taking place behind closed doors.
France in particular reiterated its opposition. On Sunday, Secretary of State for Minister of the Green Transition Brune Poirson reiterated Paris' pledge for a gradual removal of glyphosate and a shorter duration of authorization.
"This is not a clear signal for a gradual elimination of glyphosate. The fight must continue, "tweeted Monday afternoon the Luxembourg Minister of Environment Carole Dieschbourg.
This time, 18 countries supported the Commission's proposal - against 14 in the previous round -, just enough to reach the threshold of more than 65% of the EU population needed for a qualified majority.
The change of course of Germany weighed in the balance, while it abstained the November 9. According to a source close to the dossier, Berlin has requested changes to the proposed text in relation to restrictions on the private use of glyphosate and respect for biodiversity.
German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, a member of the Social Democrat Party (SPD), immediately reacted to the vote in a statement. She explains that she has reiterated her opposition to a new authorization, "even under certain conditions" to her counterpart in Agriculture, who belongs to the Conservatives of the CSU.
"It was clear that Germany had to abstain," Hendricks said.
"Today's vote shows that when we want, we can share and accept our collective responsibility in decision-making," said EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis in a statement.
One million signatures
The Commission had expressed its disapproval of the lack of a clear decision in the Committee of Experts. If the stalemate lasted Monday, the EU executive should have decided.
She had relied to put her proposal on the green light of its scientific agencies, Efsa and Echa (food safety and chemicals) that did not classify the substance as a carcinogen, relying on other studies.
The Commission will now adopt a decision before the current authorization expires on December 15.
The decision angered the NGOs who fought fiercely against a re-authorization.
"Five more years of glyphosate will put our health and the environment at risk, and this is a major setback for more sustainable farming methods," raves Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth Europe.
The main European farmers' union, Copa-Cogeca, would have hoped even more, the European legislation allowing to authorize a substance for 15 years.
"Although it is good news that the decision was made, ending the uncertainty for farmers and their cooperatives, we are concerned that the EU has agreed to a re-authorization for five years and not 15, "said the union in a statement.
Glyphosate is prized by farmers for its efficiency and low cost.
An official petition calling for the gradual disappearance of glyphosate in the EU, classified as a European Citizens' Initiative, has garnered more than a million signatures. It has been tabled with the Commission, which must respond by the beginning of next year.
Carlo Di Antonio and Céline Fremault deplore the renewal of the authorization
"A sad decision of Europe," Judge Walloon Minister of Environment Carlo Di Antonio (cdH) Monday after the European Union has decided to renew the authorization of glyphosate for 5 years. For her Brussels counterpart Céline Fremault (cdH), "the EU does not take into account citizens' opinions or their health. "
"The basic application of the precautionary principle has come up against the strength of the phyto industry," believes Carlo Di Antonio in a first reaction published on the social network Twitter. "Belgium voted against renewal but 18 countries decided otherwise. I hope the federal government will ban marketing in Belgium, "he adds.
"Where is the precautionary principle in this decision? ", Adds the Brussels Minister of Environment Céline Fremault on the social network. "The EU does not take into account citizens' views or their health. Questioning! ", She says, recalling that the substance is already banned in the capital region.
Authorization to market glyphosate, an active substance used in herbicides, was renewed for five years Monday afternoon by a majority of member states, said the office of the Minister of Agriculture, Denis Ducarme (MR). He also deplored the position taken by his colleagues. Belgium voted against the renewal.
Greenpeace "surprised" and "scandalized" by renewal of authorization
"It was not expected at all that the authorization of glyphosate be renewed without restriction. This is a scandalous and dangerous decision, "reacts Thomas Leroy, spokesman for Greenpeace Belgium, the renewal by a majority of European member states of the authorization for five years of glyphosate. This active substance used in herbicides is classified as "probably carcinogenicBy an organization of the World Health Organization (WHO), recalls the environmental organization.
"The people who protect us have failed. The Commission, like the majority of the Member States, was more afraid of possible lawsuits than to flout the precautionary principle by accepting a product potentially dangerous for the health of citizens ", worries Thomas Leroy.