German Civil Society Groups Ask the EU to Turn Off the Tap on Glyphosate

14 Sep 2023

On September 14, German environmental groups including Slow Food GermanyGreenpeaceUmweltinstitut MünchenEko and Bündnis für eine enkeltaugliche Landwirtschaft, handed over their petition signed by more than 136,125 citizens to their Ministry of Agriculture, asking them to vote against the re-approval of glyphosate at the EU level.

In their coalition agreement, the different parties in power had already stipulated that glyphosate should no longer be used on German fields from 2024. Nevertheless, the German government has not yet made a clear commitment to vote against further approval at the upcoming vote in Brussels.

Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used pesticide active ingredient (ever heard about Round Up?), which the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015. The European Chemicals Agency also warned about the risks for aquatic organisms.

“The ban on glyphosate shows the way forward for the future of agriculture, because it is a decisive step away from dependence on synthetic chemical pesticides,” says Christiane Huxdorff, expert on agriculture at Greenpeace. “Only if the EU finally puts an end to the use of glyphosate will the long overdue change towards an agricultural model that protects people, animals and the environment become possible.”

Petition delivery day, © Verena Brüning, Greenpeace, September 14, 2023

Germany Must Show the Way

On September 22, EU member states will once again discuss the future of glyphosate during a special meeting of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed, before they vote on whether to re-authorize the herbicide in the EU in mid-October. Civil society calls on Germany to vote against it, because the national ban on glyphosate, as announced in the coalition agreement, will be much more difficult to implement in law without an EU ban. “Glyphosate must finally be taken off our fields throughout Europe. Farming without glyphosate is possible, the organic sector proves it every day – and with success,” says Boris Frank, first chairman at Bündnis für eine enkeltaugliche Landwirtschaft.

Silvia Bender, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, © Verena Brüning, Greenpeace, September 14, 2023

“Decision-makers must not fall behind a firm ‘no’ to glyphosate. A re-authorization would once again call into question the credibility of the EU institutions when it comes to sustainable and healthy food production. Policymakers should support farms in converting to agroecological farming,” adds Nina Wolff, president of Slow Food Germany.

“We need diverse and resilient agriculture as a food source and as a refuge for insects and birds. Biodiversity has been suffering greatly from the massive use of glyphosate. That’s why the EU must finally ban it and pave the way for an agricultural turnaround,” concludes Sophia Guttenberger, from the Umweltinstitut München.


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