According to Reuters, a French environment official has confirmed that the country will oppose extending a licence for glyphosate at an EU level.
“France will vote against the reauthorisation of glyphosate due to the doubts that remain about its dangerousness,” the news agency reported. EU member states are due to vote on a licence extension on 4 October, but without French backing, renewal could be blocked. France and Germany have abstained in previous votes.
In May the European Commission proposed a ten-year extension to glyphosate’s licence after a study by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) said the chemical should not be classified as a carcinogen.
Sarah Mukherjee, of the Crop Protection Association, commented, “These reported comments are at odds with the robust body of scientific evidence and the opinion of expert regulators around the world, backed by 40 years of use, which clearly demonstrate that glyphosate is safe. The loss of this vital tool would not only impact on the ability of farmers to provide healthy, safe and affordable food, but also have unintended environmental consequences through limiting farmers’ ability to use no till methods.” Studies suggest that the loss of glyphosate would cost the French economy between £850 and 930 million in terms of GDP.