Health risks “not clarified”, says environment minister
Germany’s environment minister has announced that she and all ministers in the Social Democratic Party, one of the two parties in Germany’s ruling coalition, will not back the European renewal of the weedkiller glyphosate, according to a report in the news outlet Politico.
“The SPD ministers… and I emphasize all SPD ministries — have … decided, to say NO over the re-approval of glyphosate, as long as the health risks are not fully clarified,” said German environment minister Barbara Hendricks, an SPD member.
Two previous votes were postponed when no qualified majority could be reached for a re-approval, as it became clear that Germany would abstain and other countries also would not support the renewal.
The German government is divided. Agriculture minister Christian Schmidt, a member of CSU, the Bavarian sister party to Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats, supports the renewal, but the environment minister opposes it.
The EU Commission has given member states two options.
The first option is that there could be a time-limited re-authorization for 1-2 years, the expected timescale for the safety assessment that is in progress at the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
But Hendricks made clear in her statement that as long as there is uncertainty over whether glyphosate is carcinogenic, she will not support any authorization. Many NGOs would also likely oppose such an extension as it would mean that a probable carcinogen could simply continue to be used without restriction.
The second option is that the Commission does nothing and allows the June 30 deadline to expire.
In this scenario, after a six-month grace period, all products containing glyphosate would have to be withdrawn from the EU market.
GMWatch has been informed by a reliable source that the ECHA applies a strict policy on conflicts of interest in its experts, meaning that there is a chance that it will deliver a fair assessment.