European Commission to extend glyphosate licence for 18 months

(Dave Bedard photo)

Brussels | Reuters — The European Commission is extending by 18 months its approval for the herbicide glyphosate, used in Monsanto’s Roundup, Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said on Tuesday.

Contradictory findings on carcinogenic risks have thrust the chemical into the centre of a dispute between EU and U.S. politicians, regulators and researchers.

Campaign groups urged governments to exercise caution and EU member states repeatedly failed to take a decision to extend the licence approval, which expires at the end of the month.

“The Commission will follow our legal obligation. We know very well that we have a deadline of June 30. We will adopt an extension for glyphosate of 18 months,” the health commissioner told a news conference.

In the absence of any extension, manufacturers would have to phase out products containing the common herbicide within six months.

Commission sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a written procedure was been launched on Tuesday and the adoption was expected to be finalized on Wednesday.

After months of lobbying and member state indecision, the Commission replaced a previous proposal to renew the licence for glyphosate for up to 15 years with a suggested 12- to 18-month extension pending further scientific study.

Reporting for Reuters by Philip Blenkinsop, Alissa de Carbonnel and Barbara Lewis.

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