After the missed agreement on glyphosate renewal on November 9, Member States have voted today: the license of glyphosate has been renewed for another 5 years. For Slow Food this vote shows that many European governments do not respect the wishes of their citizens, who would like to put a stop to this pesticide being used in our food system and the wider environment.
While 18 Member States voted in favor (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom), only 9 Member States voted against (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta) and just Portugal abstained.
The fact that EU governments were not able to reach an agreement over several rounds of votes and different proposals should have made the Commission and European governments realize that its renewal was not welcomed, as clearly voiced by civil society and by more than a million EU citizens through the European Citizens Initiative.
A slight consolation for what has happened today is the mounting pressure by citizens and civil society organizations across Europe to put an end to the use of glyphosate: indeed a number of cities, counties, states and countries in Europe, as well as throughout the world, have taken steps to either restrict or ban glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.
To give a few examples: Belgium has banned the individual use of glyphosate, in Denmark the Danish Working Environment Authority declared glyphosate to be carcinogenic and has recommended a change to less toxic chemicals, France has banned its private sale and will ban glyphosate in the future regardless of the European Union vote, in Italy the Stop Glyphosate Coalition is gaining more and more members while the Italian Ministry of Health placed a number of restrictionson glyphosate use, in Germany certain retail stores have pulled glyphosate-based herbicides like Roundup from shelves, Malta began the process of instituting a countrywide ban of glyphosate, the Netherlands banned all non-commercial useof glyphosate, and in Switzerland the Migros and Coop supermarket chainsremoved glyphosate-based products from their shelves due to health risks.
Carlo Petrini, founder and president of Slow Food International, affirms: “Today’s vote was a political decision against citizens, a decision that did not take into account the address of the Parliament, a decision that once again put the logic of profit before sustainability and the health of the environment and people. It’s this type of decision that drives citizens away from Europe.”
Public pressure against glyphosate has not stopped, nor will it go away. Civil society and citizens will continue working to put a stop to glyphosate in 5 year’s time, while they will continue to pressure national governments to ban it at a national level.