Qualified majority in favour of glyphosate would have been hard to obtain in the previously planned October vote
The EU decision regarding the re-licensing of glyphosate has been postponed until the end of the year, the EU Commission has announced, according to an article in the German online magazine TopAgrar.
One reason given is the elections in Germany. It is also possible that France’s stated opposition to glyphosate’s re-approval is a factor. Thus far, this view has only been expressed by the environment minister. The agriculture minister has not yet publicly stated his opinion, though he has said that more time was needed to find a reliable substitute for glyphosate.
Meanwhile France has sent emails to several countries’ diplomatic services in Brussels trying to find out what stance they will take in the upcoming vote.
According to TopAgrar, the postponement of the vote on glyphosate was confirmed by a spokeswoman for EU health and food safety commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis. However, no new date has been set as yet in the meetings calendar of the relevant committee, the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed. A date had originally been planned for the vote in early October.
The EU Commission wants to give the Member States more time to arrive at a clear decision and thus to avoid taking sole responsibility for the future of glyphosate in Europe, reports TopAgrar. In the summer of 2016, the European Commission decided to extend the approval of glyphosate for 18 months. Prior to this, the Member States had not reaches a qualified majority in favour of re-approving glyphosate in several voting sessions.
There is disagreement within the German government over glyphosate, so an abstention from Germany could have been expected again in the event of an October vote.
If France goes through with a refusal to re-approve glyphosate and Germany abstains, a qualified majority of the EU Member States in favour of re-approving would be difficult to obtain.