Member States will be able to restrict glyphosate use at national and regional level.
The European Commission will renew the approval of glyphosate for ten years, subject to certain new conditions and restrictions. The move follows an appeal at which Member States did not reach the ‘qualified majority’ to renew or reject the approval of glyphosate.
Having to adopt a position on glyphosate by 15 December 2023, when the current renewal expires, the Commission said its decision was ‘based on comprehensive safety assessments carried out by the European Food Safety Authority and the European Chemicals Agency together with EU Member States.’
The Commission added that Member States will be able to restrict glyphosate use at national and regional level if they consider it necessary based on the outcome of risk assessments, particularly factoring in the need to protect biodiversity.
The Glyphosate Renewal Group, which represents leading chemical producers seeking a routine renewal of the substance, welcomed the announcement. ‘Keeping the farmers tool box well equipped with effective and safe tools to control weeds is essential, not only to contribute to a more secure European food supply, but – when combined with a range of new farming solutions – also to facilitate the continuation of conservation and regenerative farming systems that allow farmers to achieve long-term invasive weed control without ploughing,’ the group said in a statement.
However, the decision is set to be challenged by the NGO Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe and four member organisations. ‘The reapproval directly contradicts the findings of numerous independent scientists who have researched the impacts of glyphosate. It defies the will of the vast majority of Europeans and ignores the urgent need and political commitment to reduce pesticide use,’ said Dr Martin Dermine, executive Director of PAN Europe.
PAN notes that ‘Only countries representing 42% of EU citizens supported the renewal.’