Commission set to propose a nine year EU licence for glyphosate

Reports in Brussels suggest the European Commission will propose that the commonly used herbicide glyphosate be re-approved for nine years.

It is understood the Commission will make the proposal at a meeting with Member State representatives next week which will decide the fate of the ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup product.

The Commission’s proposal comes as the European Parliment voted last month to renew glyphosate for a maximum of seven years.

Glyphosate’s current European license is set to expire in June.

Nearly 700 MEPs voted on the licensing of glyphosate and the vote was passed by 374 votes in favor to 225 votes against.

Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide used in pesticides made by Dow, Monsanto and Syngenta, for example, and is the most heavily used weed-killer in history.

In March of this year, Environment Committee MEPs said that the European Commission should not renew glyphosate’s authorisation.

The Environment Committee called on the European Commission to carry out an independent review of the herbicide and disclose all the related scientific evidence on the potential impacts of the herbicide.

However, scientific opinion on glyphosate is divided.

The European Food Safety Authority suggest that it is unlikely to pose a public health risk, yet the World Health Organisations indicates that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans.

Prior to the vote, farming organisations including the IFA and UFU called on MEPs to renew glyphosate’s authorisation.

In late March, IFA National Grain Committee Chairman Liam Dunne said that a failure to renew the authorisation of glyphosate would deliver a killer blow to the Irish and wider EU tillage sector.

Dunne said that the failure to renew it, in the absence of an alternative active ingredient to control weeds, will deliver the blow to farmers.

He also said that it had the potential to destroy the EU crop production sector in the near to medium term.