European Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis has challenged EU member states to back glyphosate in a thinly-veiled ‘approve it or lose it’ threat.
Mr Andriukaitis, who is responsible for food safety, told reporters this week the Commission would not approve glyphosate for the next ten years without sufficient support from nation states.
The Commission has the power to approve the herbicide for use if there is no qualified majority – 55 per cent of countries representing 65 per cent of the EU’s population – as long as there is not a qualified majority against it.
Mr Andriukaitis said: “While I have no reason to doubt this substance is safe, I want to make it clear the Commission has no intention to reapprove this substance without the support of a qualified majority of member states. This is and will remain a shared responsibility.”
EU member states have consistently failed to produce a qualified majority for or against approving glyphosate.
France, Germany and Italy have previously abstained, forcing the Commission to step in and give the herbicide an 18-month reprieve at the end of June 2016.
Commission President Jean-Claude Junker has blasted member states for hiding behind the Commission on the issue.
As a result of the ongoing debacle, he has proposed controversial reforms which would prevent abstaining member states from being given weight when calculating the qualified majority which has to be achieved for new rules to pass.