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article imageGreen Thumb Up: No glyphosate re-licensing say some EU states

By Karen Graham     Mar 7, 2016 in Environment
Brussels - A vote by experts from 28 EU states on re-licensing Monsanto's glypgosate was supposed to take place at a meeting in Brussels Monday and Tuesday this week. The vote may be put on hold because several states are concerned over the chemical's health risks.
On Saturday, two days before the scheduled vote was to take place on whether to re-license glyphosate for use in European Union countries, the Netherlands and Sweden joined with France in coming out strongly against re-licensing the controversial chemical.
Today's meeting by the EU's 28 member states was held behind closed doors, according to NewsDaily.com. They had expected to endorse the European Commission's proposal to extend the authorization of glyphosate for 15 years until 2031.
The European Commission sent out an email saying the meeting would continue on Tuesday and it could not confirm the outcome of a vote. The postponement of the re-licensing vote could very well put the use of glyphosate into a legal limbo because the license runs out in June, the Guardian points out.
After the Dutch Parliament vote opposing the renewal of the license on glyphosate, the Netherlands called for a postponement of the decision to renew the license. “If there is no possibility to postpone the vote, then we will vote against the proposal,” said Marcel van Beusekom, a spokesman for the Netherlands agriculture ministry. All this came about on Friday after the French Minister of Ecology, Ségolène Royal said France would vote against the re-licensing of the chemical.
Royal also said France was not backing the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on their recent safety assessment of glyphosate, based on six industry-funded studies that have not been fully published. There are also concerns that the EFSA has not been entirely transparent in the findings.
Instead, Royal is saying France's is going with the WHO's Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2015, which declared glyphosate to be a probable human carcinogen. And based on a recent petition signed by over 1.5 million people in the EU, France is not alone in calling for glyphosate to be banned.
Swedish environment minister, Åsa Romson, said: “We won’t take risks with glyphosate and we don’t think that the analysis done so far is good enough. We will propose that no decision is taken until further analysis has been done and the EFSA scientists have been more transparent about their considerations.”
The rebellion by some EU states is going to hit biotech giant Monsanto and other large pesticide companies in their bottom lines because they rely on glyphosate herbicides for a large percentage of their global profits. But maybe, just maybe people are finally willing to speak up and demand to be heard on issues that could very well affect their health and well-being.
Green Thumbs Up is a weekly feature focusing on the environment and how we can live more eco-friendly lives. Last week, we talked about eco-tourism and the conservation of the Papuan black bass in Papua New Guinea. And as always, we welcome your comments and opinions on our featured stories.
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