European Parliament political leaders have given the go ahead for a special committee to look into the EU’s authorisation procedure for pesticides.
The full European Parliament (the five-year glyphosate reauthorisation was voted on by leaders of the political groupings in the European Parliament) will take the final decision on the proposal by the Conference of Presidents (Parliament’s President and political group leaders) at its session in February.
The special committee is said to be a response to concerns raised about the risk posed by the herbicide glyphosate. The herbicide had its marketing licence renewed by EU member states for five years in November last year.
The special committee is to assess:
The term of the special committee, which will have 30 members, is to be nine months from its first meeting. It will deliver a final report of its factual findings and recommendations, to be approved by the full Parliament.
Molly Scott Cato MEP, who sits on the European parliament’s agriculture committee, said: “This is a victory for Greens in Europe who have been pushing for a special committee to investigate the decision-making process for the proposed renewal of glyphosate’s licence in Europe.
“Greens have serious concerns about whether the rules have been respected during the decision-making process for glyphosate and why scientific studies demonstrating that glyphosate is dangerous have been ignored.”
Dr Chris Hartfield, NFU senior regulatory affairs adviser said: “The decision has been made to reapprove glyphosate’s use for five years and the NFU would be expecting that to be taken forward and to stand. What happens in the Parliament is really just frustrating that process.
“We would expect the decision to stand based on scientific evidence. This is really just an appeal against that decision and where this goes we will just have to wait and see.
“It demonstrates that a lot of the issue to do with glyphosate is to do with a company, to do with Monsanto when there are 20 different companies producing glyphosate which leaves you questioning why we are having this debate.
“Is the concern about a particular active or about companies and multinational global companies in general?”
Crop Protection Association CEO Sarah Mukherjee welcomed the establishment of the committee. “It is clear that there have been issues with the European regulatory process for crop protection products. If you look at the example of glyphosate, whilst the science eventually prevailed, the politicisation of what should have been a standard re-approval process set a worrying precedent for the future of crop protection and sustainable farming in Europe.
“We therefore welcome the establishment of this committee and are hopeful that an objective analysis of the approvals process will find it to be amongst the most stringent regulatory regimes in the world.”