France to vote against European Union licence extension for weed-killer glyphosate


France will vote against a five-year extension of the licence for weed-killer glyphosate that the European Commission will propose on Monday, a junior French environment minister has said.

The European Commission said 18 countries had backed the use of the weedkiller, with nine member nations voting against it and one abstaining.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he has asked the French government to look for alternative pesticides and ban glyphosate in France within three years.

There was a qualified majority backing from member states in today's EU Appeal Committee in favor of a proposal to renew the marketing license for the controversial herbicide for five years.

But the European Food Safety Authority and the European Chemicals Agency both say glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans, in line with a 2016 review carried out by World Health Organization experts and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Many farmers, who say the substance is safe, had wanted a 15-year extension.

Pekka Pesonen, the Secretary General of Copa-Cogeca, a body that represents farmers and cooperatives in the European Union, welcomes the decision to allow use of the weedkiller.

Environmental campaigners like Greenpeace have been calling for an outright ban in Europe for glyphosate.

Germany had been expected to abstain again, but agricultural minister Christian Schmidt has been accused of defying instructions by environment minister Barbara Hendricks after he voted in favour.

Schmidt, whose Christian Social Union is the sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, told the Rheinische Post that Germany had voted for the agreement because of conditions that will "strengthen the role of biodiversity and animal protection".

The approval also came after the Greens moved out of the picture as a possible coalition partner.