Published: Tue, November 28, 2017
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

France to vote against European Union extending licence for glyphosate

France to vote against European Union extending licence for glyphosate

Environmental campaigners have criticised the outcome.

"Today's approval, even if only for five years, is a missed opportunity to get rid of this risky weedkiller and start to get farmers off the chemical treadmill", said Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth Europe. "The people who are supposed to protect us from unsafe pesticides have failed to do their jobs and betrayed the trust Europeans place in them", Greenpeace said after Monday's vote. Glyphosate, which the United Nations says causes cancer, is a key ingredient in Monsanto's weed-killer Roundup.

After a drawn-out process, the European Union backed the extension with a qualified majority and beat a mid-December deadline when the current licence expires.

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German officials disobeyed orders to abstain in a vote about renewing the licence of a controversial weedkiller linked to cancer, according to a Berlin minister.

"Exactly two hours before the beginning of the meeting..."

The commission said the new licence would begin before the current one runs out on 15 December.

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Mr Schmidt is from the Merkel-allied CSU party, while Ms Hendricks is part of the Social Democrats.

But President Emmanuel Macron said he tasked the government "to take the necessary measures so that the use of glyphosate is forbidden in France as soon as alternatives are found, and at the latest in three years".

Paris will also lobby for the European Union to change the way it determines the safety of chemical products, the prime minister's office told AFP. The chemical has been used by farmers for more than 40 years, but its safety was cast into doubt when a World Health Organization agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), concluded in 2015 it probably causes cancer.

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The European Chemical Agency said in March this year, however, there was no evidence linking it to cancer in humans. In addition, papers released in the U.S. reveal that the main producer of glyphosate, Monsanto, has been ghostwriting safety studies, covertly paying European scientists and has unduly influenced regulatory authorities to support the continued use of glyphosate.

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