EU to Renew Herbicide Glyphosate Approval for 10 Years


The approval of the controversial herbicide Glyphosate has been extended by ten years in the EU. However, the EU Commission announced on Thursday in Brussels that there would be new conditions and restrictions. The current approval would have expired in mid-December.

In a previous EU Appeals Committee, there were not enough representatives from EU member states in favor of or against the continued use of the substance. As a result, the EU Commission was able to unilaterally make a decision.

Six Abstentions

In the negotiations on Glyphosate, Germany abstained due to the inability of the federal government to reach a common position. Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Green Party) advocated letting the approval expire, while the Free Democratic Party (FDP) welcomed the proposal from the EU Commission. According to diplomatic sources, six other member countries also abstained in the Thursday vote, including France and the Netherlands. Austria, Luxembourg, and Croatia opposed a reauthorization.

One point of contention is whether Glyphosate could be carcinogenic, and concerns about environmental hazards are also raised. A recent extensive investigation by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) did not identify unacceptable risks but highlighted data gaps in several areas.

Aspects not conclusively clarified by the EFSA include potential nutritional risks for consumers and the assessment of risks for aquatic plants. Even regarding biodiversity protection, the available information does not permit clear conclusions.

Glyphosate, also known as a total herbicide, causes the death of plants. Where Glyphosate is sprayed, no grass, shrubs, or moss grow. The substance is primarily used in agriculture to keep fields free of weeds before sowing crops.