Decision to renew glyphosate postponed as Member States fail to agree

14 countries voted to renew glyphosate, 9 against and 5 abstained
14 countries voted to renew glyphosate, 9 against and 5 abstained

The European Commission has once again postponed its decision on the vote for the renewal of glyphosate today.

The meeting by the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF) on Thursday morning (9 November) at the European Commission followed an initial round of votes by Member States that commenced on October 25, which failed to come to a conclusion.

Member States have once again failed to come to a conclusion in today's meeting.

Following the lack of a qualified majority of the Member States on the proposal of the European executive, the decision will now be referred to the appeal committee, which will announce its decision by the end of November.

This procedure is foreseen in cases where there is no agreement between the Member States. This committee can only examine the proposal which has been formulated by the European Commission and not a new one.

Following the abstention of Germany (which represents 16% of the European population), the Member States failed to gather a qualified majority.

A qualified majority is when a proposal wins approval (or rejection) from 55% of the European Union countries, representing at least 65% of the population.

Expiry date

Member States now only have five weeks left before the expiry of the current glyphosate license on December 15. The European Commission is struggling to gather the qualified majority needed to take a decision.

The 14 countries that voted in favour of the proposal (representing 36.95% of the vote) were: the UK, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Hungary, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Sweden and Lithuania.

Nine countries voted against the proposal (representing 32.26% of the vote). These were Belgium, France, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta and Austria.

Five countries abstained (representing 30.79% of the vote): Bulgaria, Germany, Poland, Portugal and Romania.

'Playing politics'

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) has urged the European Commission to take "decisive action" to reauthorise the use of glyphosate to stop the politicisation of the process.

Guy Smith, NFU Vice President, said: “Once again we are left in a situation where no decision has been made on the reauthorisation of glyphosate – one of the safest plant protection products on the market which secures so much environmental benefit in terms of better soils and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

“Allowing Member States to continue playing politics over this decision despite overwhelming science and evidence showing glyphosate’s safety does nothing but undermine the credibility of the EU’s regulatory bodies and the entire regulatory process.

“We ask the Commission to stand by its own science and regulatory procedure, and re-authorise glyphosate for the maximum period possible. It cannot stand by and allow the issue to be politicised any longer.”