Sunday 29 May 2022
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European Commission blocks Austrian ban on glyphosate

As expected, the European Commission has blocked the Austrian government decision for a total ban on the use of glyphosate in agriculture and horticulture.

Austria had previously announced that intention to Brussels. The Commission states unequivocally that such a law is not compatible with applicable EU law.

The EU decision puts the Austrian coalition of the conservative ÖVP party and the Greens in a difficult position. Agriculture Minister Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP) had previously hinted at a possible EU blockade, but the SPÖ opposition and the ruling party Greens want to stick to the planned ban, even if Brussels gives a negative advice. According to the EU, no specific Austrian concerns have been identified that would justify a ban on glyphosate in pesticides.

The EU statement has a suspensive effect, and the procedure is now extended by three months. Austria is invited to take into account the comments of the Commission. "After feedback from the European Commission, it is clear that this application is in breach of European law," said the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture. In this context, the Commission refers to the ongoing process for the re-evaluation of the authorization of glyphosate.

Glyphosate is not uncontroversial because it has been used extensively as an active agent in RoundUp, which scientists from the World Health Organization have said can cause cancer. Others say that has not been proven. That was also the argument of the European Commission to extend the previously granted authorization.

Scientific use research is currently being carried out in four EU countries, including the Netherlands, with which the EU intends to make a decision in the course of next year.

A consortium of several pesticide manufacturers filed an application for glyphostat re-approval late last year. The approval of the weed killer was decided in the EU at the end of 2017 for another five years until the end of 2022, which is why the “Glyphosate Renewal Group” is now aiming to continue using the product afterwards.

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