Decision set to irk large agribusinesses determined to keep commercially sensitive information out of the public spotlight
Here’s more analysis of the landmark ruling from the European Court of Justice that we reported on yesterday, to the effect that safety tests conducted by the chemical industry and used by regulators to assess the dangers of pesticides must be disclosed.
Court sides with NGOs over pesticides
By GIULIA PARAVICINI AND SIMON MARKS
Politico, 23 Nov 2016
* Decision set to irk large agribusinesses determined to keep commercially sensitive information out of the public spotlight
The European Court of Justice on Wednesday ruled in favor of a group of NGOs who want greater access to confidential industry studies on the authorization process for pesticides.
The groundbreaking decision is set to irk large agribusinesses determined to keep commercially sensitive information out of the public spotlight.
Though the rulings do not provide the groups with automatic access to the documents, they mark the conclusion of months of back and forth between NGOs, industry and the European Commission on what can be defined as “information relating to emissions into the environment” — and must therefore be disclosed to the public — and what can be retained to “protect commercial interests.”
“The interpretation of what can be classified as information relating to emissions into the environment has been broadened out and therefore that may mean that there is broader access to information and less scope to refuse access to documents as argued by the Commission on the basis of protecting commercial interests,” a Court spokesperson said.
The court bundled together two cases. The first case was raised by Greenpeace Netherlands and the Pesticide Action Network Europe, which submitted a request to the European Commission for access to documents related to the marketing authorization for glyphosate. The second case is between the Dutch bee preservation group Stichting de Bijenstichting and Bayer CropScience for documents dealing with the authorization process of a neonicotinoid pesticide called imidacloprid, which activists say has an adverse effect on bees.
As a next stage in the glyphosate case, the General Court of the European Union will hold a hearing and a final judgement is expected in roughly nine months to a year. In the case between Bayer CropScience and Stichting de Bijenstichting the ruling will go back to court in the Netherlands, where a final judgement will be made.