EC to Extend Glyphosate Approval for 18 Months

The European Commission will extend the authorization of glyphosate for 18 months while the European Chemicals Agency examines its health effects.

The EC’s Health Commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, said at a news conference today that the EC “will follow our legal obligations” and extend the authorization before the current one expires June 30.

Andriukaitis said he was “surprised” at the position taken by some EU nations, presumably referring to some of the larger states that have reportedly resisted reauthorization.

Although use of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp, is not as heavy in Europe as in the U.S., one analyst told Reuters that Monsanto could lose $100 million in earnings if it had to stop selling RoundUp in Europe.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) said it was pleased with the news.

“An 18-month extension gives U.S. farmers and exporters the assurance that they will at least have access to the European market for that period of time,” ASA President and Greenwood, Del., soybean farmer Richard Wilkins said.

“We are still extraordinarily frustrated by the unscientific approach in the EU,” Wilkins said. “Remember, the European Food Safety Authority found that glyphosate is safe. Given this repeatedly proven fact, it’s a relief that the commission decided to step in and issue this reauthorization, even after the Council of Ministers was unable to find the support among its members to affirm the EFSA finding.”

The last chance to get popular support for the authorization – short of leaving it to the commission, the EU’s governing body – was scotched last week when an “appeals committee” representing all 28 EU states failed to reach a “qualified majority.”

The tally of the appeals committee vote, according to journalist Lorenzo Consoli: 19 in favor of reauthorization, two against (France and Malta), and seven abstentions (Denmark, Italy, Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal and Bulgaria).

A qualified majority is achieved if a decision is supported by 55 percent of member states (meaning at least 15), which represent at least 65 percent of the EU’s population.

Source: Agri-Pulse

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