Netherlands: no support for EU ban on glyphosate in agriculture

The Netherlands will not argue in the European Union for a ban on the use of glyphosate in agriculture, but will also not agree to a proposal to allow its use for another ten years. Agriculture Minister Piet Adema says that the Netherlands will abstain from voting at the end of this week ('Friday the thirteenth'). 

This means that it appears that there is no qualified majority within the EU for either a ban or extended admission. Either decision requires that at least 55% of the EU countries, together with 60% of the EU residents, agree. It was previously announced that Belgium will also abstain from voting, while it is already clear that Germany and Austria will vote against in any case. France, Malta and Luxembourg are also not in favor of the European Commission's proposal.

Minister Adema says that in choosing to abstain from voting, he takes into account both the scientific Ctgb advice (to allow glyphosate) and the parliamentary motion to ban its use. He also says that the government has instructed scientists to conduct new additional research into possible health risks, such as Parkinson's disease.

The minister also points out that both European and Dutch procedures provide that the use of glyphosate can be immediately banned if it turns out in the near future that there are risks associated with it.

Now that no qualified decision will be taken in Brussels on Friday, a re-vote will follow in the Appeals Committee next week. This is not expected to result in any other views. EU Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in the European Parliament last week that she only wants to adjust the proposal on a few minor parts.

If there is still no qualified majority after the appeals committee, the European Commission is authorized to make its own decision. That happened five years ago (also during the previous 'temporary' extension).

Only if there are enough 'qualified' votes against it will the approval of glyphosate expire after 12-18 months. After that, no more products based on this active substance may be authorized by the Member States.