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ECPA calls for decision to approve glyphosate to be based on fact not fear
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ECPA calls for decision to approve glyphosate to be based on fact not fear

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Legislation introduced under the Lisbon Treaty now threatens to place the power to ban the widely used weed killer, glyphosate, in the hands of the citizens.
Legislation introduced under the Lisbon Treaty now threatens to place the power to ban the widely used weed killer, glyphosate, in the hands of the citizens.

The European Crop Protection Agency (ECPA) has called on European citizens to recognise the series of regulatory bodies that approves chemicals for use in the EU. The call comes after the European Commission decided on Tuesday to register a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) that directly targets a ban on glyphosate.

“We recognise there is public concern, concerns we work hard to address, however decisions on approval should be based on facts not fear," said Graeme Taylor from the ECPA. "We hope that EU citizens will recognise the 90,000 + pages of evidence, 3,500 peer reviewed studies, and confirmations from countless regulatory authorities and scientific bodies - in the EU and around the world - that glyphosate is safe."

He added that the industry promotes the responsible use of products, including the application of principles like Integrated Pest Management.

" A call for an EU-wide mandatory reduction target for pesticide use would be arbitrary and simply ignore the complexities and challenges of modern-day farming," Taylor said. "The reduction of the size of the toolbox available to farmers is already having a significant impact on productivity – further reduction will only increase the challenges farmers face, particularly from issues like resistance.”

People power

The initiative will need to receive one million signatures in support of the proposal within a year in order to make the Commission take action. If successful, the Commission will have three months either to follow the request or not, and in both instances would be required to explain its reasoning.

Interestingly, the initiative also suggests setting reduction targets on pesticides.

The ECI invites the Commission to propose to member states:

  • A ban on glyphosate.
  • Reform the pesticide approval procedure.
  • Set EU-wide mandatory reduction targets for pesticide use.
  • The initiative will be formally registered on 25 January, starting a one-year process of collection of signatures in support of the proposed ECI by its organisers. The one million signatures must come from seven or more member states.

    In July last year, EU member states voted in favour of a proposal by the European Commission to restrict the use of glyphosate in the EU. The the potential health effects of the chemical has been hotly debated since its licence for use in the EU came up for renewal. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that “it is unlikely that this substance is carcinogenic”.

    Lisbon Treaty

    ECIs were introduced with the Lisbon Treaty to be used as an agenda-setting tool by European citizens. The legislative tool allows one million citizens from at least one quarter of EU member states to invite the European Commission to propose a legal act in areas where the Commission has the power to do so.

    If a registered ECI receives the signatures of one million validated statements of support from at least seven member states, the Commission must decide whether or not it would act, and explain the reasons for that choice.

    Read more

    Full coverage: glyphosate

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