European Commission proposes 10-year extension of glyphosate approval

The European Commission is proposing to extend the licence for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Bayer's weedkiller Roundup, by 10 years. The proposal will be formally discussed by member states on Friday and voted on in October.

Decisions on whether a substance can be approved for the market are taken at European level. Individual member states then decide whether to authorise specific products. In Belgium, the sale and use of glyphosate by private individuals has been banned for several years.

The current authorisation for glyphosate expires on 15 December. It was extended for one year until the end of 2022 because the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) needed more time to analyse the available scientific studies and evidence. The dossier consists of 180,000 pages covering 2,400 studies.

The analysis by EFSA and the European Chemicals Agency did not raise any major concerns. The Commission is therefore proposing to extend the authorisation of glyphosate by 10 years, until 2033. It will be able to re-evaluate the authorisation if future studies contradict these findings.

Vote in October

The Commission's proposal will now go to the 27 member states, who are expected to vote on it in October. Approval does not require unanimity but a qualified majority, representing at least 65 per cent of the European population. If there is no majority in favour, but also no majority against, the Commission will decide on the approval itself.

Approval would be good news for Bayer's site in the port of Antwerp. The Antwerp site is one of four in the world where glyphosate is produced, and the German company employs 730 people there. Belgium voted against the approval in the last vote in 2017, but it is unclear whether it will do so again now.



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