France to vote against 5-year European Union renewal of glyphosate herbicide

A farmer holds up a barley seed showing the impact of using the weed-killer glyphosate on his farm in Brentwood Britain

Fourteen out of 28 countries voted in favor of extending the license when the European Union voted on the issue on November 9 with nine against and five abstentions.

Following the exchange of views and the vote by the EU member states representatives on the European Commission's proposal, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis said that Monday's vote "shows that when we all want to, we are able to share and accept our collective responsibility in decision making".

German chemical firm Bayer had been hoping for a 15-year extension rather than five, with Monsanto insisting that it met the required standards.

"Regulators and scientific bodies across the world, including in Europe... have carefully evaluated the component and decided that glyphosate is safe", it said in a statement.

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Germany voted for the extension over the objection of Social Democrat Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, who said she had told Christian Democrat Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt on the phone Monday that she was against it.

Germany abstained from the last vote, but on Monday Berlin changed its mind after receiving assurances on animal welfare and private use of the weedkiller, a European source said.

The previous abstention was a compromise between opposition to glyphosate in the environmental ministry and support for it in the agriculture ministry.

Mr Schmidt is from the Merkel-allied CSU party, while Ms Hendricks is part of the Social Democrats.

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But President Emmanuel Macron said he tasked the government "to take the necessary measures so that the use of glyphosate is forbidden in France as soon as alternatives are found, and at the latest in three years".

The decision makes renewal more hard for the product, which the United Nations health agency (WHO) has said causes cancer.

Farms in the European Union will be allowed to use Glyphosate, despite calls for the fertilizer to be banned, following a report from the World Health Organisation that warned it probably causes cancer.

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