GUE/NGL

Are you protected from harmful pesticides? An explainer

Are you protected from harmful pesticides? An explainer

Background

 

In October 2017 the European Parliament approved a resolution calling for a full ban on the harmful pesticide glyphosate by the end of 2022. This fell short of demands from the Left for an immediate ban because of scientific evidence that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

Over one million EU citizens from 22 member states supported a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) to ban glyphosate, to reform the pesticide approval procedure, and to set EU-wide mandatory reduction targets for pesticide use.

Disregarding the Parliament’s resolution and public opinion, member states approved a 5-year extension for the glyphosate authorisation, after seven previous failed attempts. But the member states’ decision wasn’t unanimous, with nine countries voting against and France, among other countries, pledging to ban glyphosate in the near future.

The controversy lead the European Parliament to set up a Special Committee on the EU’s authorisation procedure for pesticides (the so-called PEST committee). The Committee was tasked with assessing the authorisation procedure for pesticides in the EU, potential failures in how substances are scientifically evaluated and approved, the role of the European Commission in renewing the glyphosate licence, and possible conflicts of interest in the approval procedure.

After months of deliberation and hearing of evidence from stakeholders, the Committee has completed its report and recommendations, which will be endorsed by the Parliament this month.