MEPs, for the first time, have used a new procedure that allows the withdrawal of parliamentary access for firms that do not attend parliamentary inquiries or hearings when summoned. The ban, which was voted on yesterday, was supported by all the major parliamentary blocks. The Parliament was indeed united to contrast the US multinational’s lobby. “Those who ignore the rules of democracy also lose their rights as a lobbyists in the European parliament,” said the Green party president Philippe Lamberts.
This means access is denied to institutional sites, committee meetings and digital resources on parliament premises in Brussels and Strasbourg. This is a harsh blow for Monsanto that seems even harsher as the day of the vote on glyphosate renewal approaches.
The meeting organized by the environmental and agriculture committees that Monsanto has unwisely shunned will take place on October 11th, also hosting academics, regulators and campaigners. The issue up for discussion is the undue influence on the glyphosate safety regulatory studies that Monsanto exercised in order to be able to keep producing its RoundUp weedkiller.
In a letter sent to MEPs and seen by the Guardian, Monsanto tries to clarify its decision. The multinational’s vice president, Philip Miller, wrote that the joint hearing at the European parliament is not an “appropriate forum” for the discussion of the issue, as it seems as a further trap of those who do not believe in modern agricultural practices. Moreover, he expresses doubts regarding the politicization of the procedure for the glyphosate renewal, a procedure that, in his opinion, should be scientific only.
Unfortunately for Monsanto, the renewal decision is also political and has to be taken democratically. And luckily for us, MEPs have stood up against the giant.