Monsanto’s nightmare is becoming real

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We’re one step away from a glyphosate-free EU. For the third time in a row, member states have refused to back the Commission’s proposed licence extension for weedkiller glyphosate.

But the Commission won’t take no for an answer, and will try to force through a last-ditch appeal in Brussels June 24. Otherwise, a whole lot of Monsanto’s Roundup will be coming down from shelves across Europe this year.

Instead of heeding the cancer warnings of the WHO, the European Commission has tried to do Monsanto’s dirty work by pushing through a licence extension despite experts agreeing that a ban of the pesticide is necessary to prevent contamination of our food, water, and soil.

Today we’re part of a mass movement opposing the continued use of Monsanto’s favorite pesticide –– from which contamination has been detected in food, clothing, personal hygiene products, and even breast milk. And governments are finally taking notice.

France, Germany, Italy, and others all abstained from the last vote on the glyphosate extension, reflecting growing consensus that the pesticide is bad news for the people of Europe. And if we can make sure the Commission fails again to gain a qualified majority on June 24, glyphosate’s time will be up by the end of the month.

Sum Of Us have reached across the world to stand with people resisting Monsanto and other agrochemical giants. Thanks to public pressure and sound science, countries like France, Colombia, the Netherlands, and Sri Lanka have placed restrictions on glyphosate. But we know the chemical industry has a stranglehold on the European Commission, so we need to raise our voices now to make sure EU member states oppose any extension of glyphosate’s licence.

 

EU nations have refused to back a limited extension of the pesticide glyphosate’s use, threatening withdrawal of Monsanto’s Roundup and other weedkillers from shelves if no decision is reached by the end of the month.

Contradictory findings on the carcinogenic risks of the chemical have thrust it into the centre of a dispute among EU and US politicians, regulators and researchers.

The EU executive, after failing to win support in two meetings earlier this year for a proposal to renew the licence for glyphosate for up to 15 years, had offered a limited 12 to 18 month extension to allow time for further scientific study.

It hopes a study by the European Union’s Agency for Chemical Products (ECHA) will allay health concerns.

Despite the compromise, the proposal failed to win the qualified majority – the support of member states representing at least 65% of the EU’s population – needed for adoption, an EU official said.

Seven member states abstained from Monday’s vote, 20 backed the proposal and one voted against, a German environment ministry spokeswoman said.

European commissioners will discuss the issue at a meeting on Tuesday, a commission spokesman said.

Failing a majority decision, the EU executive may submit its proposal to an appeal committee of political representatives of the 28 member states within one month. If, again, there is no decision, the European commission may adopt its own proposal.

The controversy overhangs German chemicals group Bayer’s $62bn offer in May to buy US seeds company Monsanto. Germany was among those which abstained from Monday’s vote and has in the past opposed Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds.

Commenting on the decision, the Green’s environment and food safety spokesperson Bart Staes MEP said: “We applaud those EU governments who are sticking to their guns and refusing to authorise this controversial toxic herbicide. There are clear concerns about the health risks with glyphosate, both as regards it being a carcinogen and an endocrine disruptor. Moreover, glyphosate’s devastating impact on biodiversity should have already led to its ban. Thankfully, the significant public mobilisation and political opposition to re-approving glyphosate has been taken seriously by key EU governments, who have forced the EU commission to back down.

“The commission must stop continuing to try and force through the approval of glyphosate. Such a move would raise major democratic concerns about the EU’s decision-making process.”

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