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Glyphosate gets 5-year reprieve

European Union member states voted on Monday (27 November) in favour of a five-year licence renewal for the controversial herbicide glyphosate, used by Monsanto in its Roundup product.

The vote result was eighteen in favour of a licence extension, nine against, and one abstention. Controversially, Germany carried the deciding vote; Germany’s Agricultural minister defied a party order to abstain Germany’s vote, and instead voted to renew the licence.

The EU decision came just three weeks before the licence for glyphosate was due to expire. Several European Parliament MEPs have expressed their anger at the decision on the grounds that Parliament had called for a phase-out of the herbicide over five years; not a 5-year licence renewal.

NGOs and environmental protection associations have also unanimously condemned the member states’ decision.

“Five more years of glyphosate will put our health and environment at risk, and is a major setback to more sustainable farming methods,” Adrian Bebb from Friends of the Earth Europe warned.

In France (which voted against), president Emmanuel Macron has vowed to ban glyphosate “as soon as alternatives have been found, or within three years at the latest.”

The European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety voted on an objection to the decision on Tuesday (28 November).