The European Commission today unveiled its proposal to renew for 10 years the authorization for the use of glyphosate, the basic substance of herbicides controversial for their carcinogenic effects. An announcement that the European MP, Saskia Bricmont, and the Federal MP, Séverine de Laveleye, consider scandalous and contrary to the urgent need to protect the health of Europeans and biodiversity.
“Numerous scientific studies, including those by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), have established the long-term toxicity of glyphosate. This substance is dangerous for health and biodiversity,” recalls MEP Saskia Bricmont (Ecolo). “Following a massive mobilization of citizens five years ago, the EU was on the verge of permanently banning this toxic substance. With this turnaround, the Commission is giving an additional blow to the Green Deal initiated by its president. It also goes against the wishes of 60% of European citizens who wish to ban this substance.”*
The final decision will be a vote by member states which promises to be close.
“It is imperative that member states choose to protect the health of their citizens rather than the interests of a few agro-industry multinationals,” adds Saskia Bricmont.
Belgium has not yet adopted a position on this issue. Séverine de Laveleye, federal Ecolo deputy, recalled the position of environmentalists today in committee in the House to the federal Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Clarinval:
“Belgium and the EU have committed to reducing their use of pesticides by more than 50% by 2030. Renewing the authorization of glyphosate would be nonsense. Environmentalists will always put the health of citizens, farmers and the environment at the heart of their political decisions. We therefore ask that Belgium vote against the extension of glyphosate.”
France’s position on glyphosate is being undermined by this proposal from the European Commission. Paris advocates an “approach” according to which the use of herbicide is possible when there is no viable alternative. “France asks that this approach be harmonized at the European level,” underlined the Ministry of Agriculture.
Several NGOs have also reacted and are asking France to oppose this authorization of glyphosate. This is the case of Générations futures, whose general delegate, estimated on France Inter that such a proposal “would really be a scandal from a health and environmental point of view”. She calls on the government “to listen to French medical research which says that today there are too many potential harmful effects”.