Glyphosate, the strong chemical used in Monsanto’s common weedkiller, Roundup, is classified by the World Health Organization as a cancer-causing substance. In its study last March, the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) has claimed otherwise, prompting the European Union to propose a ten-year extension on glyphosate’s license.
Meanwhile, France, European Union’s largest agricultural producer and exporter, has expressed its plan to ban glyphosate and vote against European Union’s proposal of ten-year extension. “The European Commission has proposed renewing its approval for glyphosate for another ten years. This is far too long, given the concerns that remain over this product, and France will vote against the proposal, as clearly laid out in July,” said Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. Hundreds of French farmers protested as a response, positing that currently, there are no alternatives to the weedkiller.
The French government, said Prime Minister Philippe, has indicated a gradual phasing out of glyphosate by asking the farm and environment ministries to recommend “a plan to move away from glyphosate in light of the current research and available alternatives for farmers” by the end of 2017.
Representatives of the French government have hinted a five-year to seven-year phasing out period of the said chemical substance. “This means Matignon (the prime minister) is starting to understand that a full ban would be impossible to apply in France. This is already easing in position,” said Christiane Lambert, leader of FNSEA, France’s biggest farm union.
A vote on whether the glyphosate will be extended or not that was initially scheduled on the 5th or 6th of October was postponed for more than a month according to a European Commission source. If the glyphosate’s license failed to be renewed by the end of this year would automatically suggest that a complete ban will start on the first day of 2018.