European Commissioner confirms glyphosate license will be extended

European Commissioner confirms glyphosate license will be extended

Over recent months Andriukaitis has led the European Commission's attempts to get member states to reach an agreement on whether to extend glyphosate's license. As member states have repeatedly failed to reach a decision the European Commission has now taken the role of extending the license itself.

The commissioner told a press conference of his "huge surprise" that members did not adopt the most recent measures in the European Commission's "ambitious proposal", which included a ban on POE-tallowamine as a coformulant, and minimising use in public parks and gardens and in pre-harvest use by farmers.

He said: "We have debated this with member states many times at standing committee level and appeal committee level and bilateral discussions and once again I am surprised about the positions of some member states not to hear our proposals.

"But of course the Commission will follow our legal obligations. We know very well that we have a deadline, the 30th of June, and we will adopt extension of glyphosate [for] 18 months."

It was not clear what conditions will be placed on the temporary license. The commission must extend the license before it expires this Thursday (30 June).

The Crop Protection Association has expressed its relief that farmers will still have access to the weedkiller.

Chief executive Nick von Westenholz said: "It is disappointing that Member States have forced the Commission into this position by ignoring the science and advice of expert regulators. The indecision of Member States and the need for an extension demonstrates how politicised this process has become. Nevertheless, it will be a relief to farmers that they will be able to continue to use this crucial tool, at least in the short-term.

"Given that the extensive evaluation carried out by the relevant EU authorities, and over 40 years of robust scientific evidence has confirmed that glyphosate poses no risk to human health and that there is no cancer or endocrine disruptor risk, the standard 15 year renewal should have been granted.

"The expiration of the approval at the end of June would have had serious consequences for UK farmers who rely on glyphosate as a cornerstone of sustainable, productive agriculture. Whilst that situation has been averted for now, we urge Member States to take the sensible, science led decision to re-licence this safe, efficient and effective product for the full 15 year period once the 18 month extension has expired.

"Failure to re-license glyphosate would be contrary to the science, provide no benefit to human health, wildlife or the environment and at the same time remove one of the key tools our farmers need to produce a safe, healthy, reliable and affordable supply of food."

First published in, 28 June 2016, written by Elizabeth Henry