Glyphosate in EU agriculture: so far only Germany and Austria are against it

Over 200 people and the NGO Coalition to Stop Glyphosate formed a human banner on Berlin's Tempelhofer field in the shape of a flower and the words “Vote NO” to call on EU decision makers not to renew the license of the weedkiller in the EU. “Vote NO” is a call towards European decision makers to end the use of Glyphosate on European fields. Mitglieder der NGO Koalition Stop Glyphosat bilden ein Menschbanner in der Form eines Totenkopfes, der sich in eine Blume wandert und dann in de Schriftzug “Vote NO†on the Tempelhofer Feld in Berlin. These actions are a couple of days before the zentralen Entscheidung in Brüssel durchgeführt, wed Mitgliedstaaten über die erneute Zulassung von Glyphosat in der EU entscheiden sollen. “Vote NO†is an end result for all European countries to be reached by the Einsatz von Glyphosat auf European Feldern.

Austria has now also publicly spoken out against the extended authorization of glyphosate in pesticides in European agriculture. The announcement comes shortly after Germany reported earlier this week that it will vote against such a decision, despite divisions within Germany's coalition government over the issue. 

Pressure on governments of several EU countries to speak out on this issue has increased recently. This has led to speculation that Agriculture Ministers of the EU countries may abstain from voting on October 12, delaying a final decision.

Austria's announcement that it will vote against extension because of their organic farming. However, the German position is not yet clear. While the government has formally announced its vote against glyphosate, divisions remain within the coalition government. The Greens have always spoken out against the use of glyphosate, while the CDU Christian Democrats and the FDP Liberals are more cautious.

The governments of other EU countries are also under increasing pressure to speak out. It is known that France was initially in favor of a complete ban, but President Macron has backtracked. Last week, reports emerged from the Elysee that France will not vote against full use, but that it is aiming for 'more than halving glyphosate use'.

In the Netherlands and Belgium, the use of glyphosate is prohibited for individuals, but not in agriculture and horticulture. In Portugal, its use in public spaces is prohibited. In the Czech Republic it has been restricted but not banned since 2019. Germany plans to ban glyphosate by the end of 2023.

It is known in the Netherlands that a majority of the House of Representatives is against, but that the outgoing Minister of Agriculture Piet Adema has not yet taken a position: he is waiting for official technical advice.

The situation within the EU is further complicated by the fact that a so-called “qualified majority” is required for both acceptance and rejection of glyphosate. This means that at least 55% of the EU countries, which together represent more than 65% of the EU population, must agree on the decision. 

The Agriculture Ministers of the EU countries will discuss this issue on October 12. Whether they can reach a consensus, or whether they will abstain and postpone the decision, is still an open question.