Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Protesters outside the European Commission on Monday demanded that the EU vote against extending Roundup's license, citing the carcinogenic effects of its key ingredient, Glyphosate. (Photo: AFP/Twitter)

'Historical Mistake': Green Groups Decry EU's Glyphosate License Extension

"The people who are supposed to protect us from dangerous pesticides have failed to do their jobs."

Julia Conley, staff writer

Green groups and public health advocates on Monday denounced the European Commission's vote in favor of extending the license of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup pesticide which scientists have labeled as a "likely carcinogen."

Eighteen member states of the European Union approved of the use of the weed-killer's use for the next five years, with nine voting against the extension and Portugal abstaining. Sixteen votes were needed for the extension to pass; Germany swung the vote after having been on the fence in recent weeks.

Greenpeace EU noted in a press release following the vote that the commission's new approval of the chemical is based on flawed science: a "health risk assessment of glyphosate, which states there is insufficient evidence of a cancer link, despite the WHO's classification of the weedkiller as a probable cause of cancer."

An assessment done by the World Health Organization in 2015 found it to be "probably carcinogenic."

"The people who are supposed to protect us from dangerous pesticides have failed to do their jobs and betrayed the trust Europeans place in them," said the group's food policy director, Franziska Achterberg. "The European Commission and most governments have chosen to ignore the warnings of independent scientists, the demands of the European Parliament and the petition signed by more than one million people calling for a glyphosate ban."

Friends of the Earth Europe also expressed dismay at the decision.

"Today's approval, even if only for five years, is a missed opportunity to get rid of this risky weedkiller and start to get farmers off the chemical treadmill," said the group's senior food and agricultural campaigner, Adrian Bebb. "Five more years of glyphosate will put our health and environment at risk, and is a major setback to more sustainable farming methods."

As the commission voted on Monday, protesters were gathered outside its headquarters in Brussels wearing masks and holding a sign that read "Democracy vs. Glyphosate."

Critics argued that the 18 countries that voted for the license extension did so under pressure from Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, which is used widely in Europe. In Germany alone, about 40 percent of crop-growing land is treated with the weedkiller. Monsanto has been accused of suppressing information about the potential dangers of Roundup and ghost-writing research that portrayed the herbicide in a positive light.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

Advocates Cheer DOJ Reversal of Trump Policy Denying Asylum to Victims of Violence

"Now it's time to build on this progress," said one migrant rights campaigner. "We're ready to work with the administration to create an asylum system that provides every person a fair opportunity to apply for protection."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


Activists Frustrated That Biden, Putin Won't Reduce Nuclear Arsenals

"Concerned citizens around the globe expect more than a general commitment to lay a foundation for status quo arms control," said the head of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


'Huge Day for Trans Youth' as Biden Administration Reverses Trump-Era Title IX GuidancebrettJun 16, 2021
LGBTQ
"All students—including LGBTQ+ students—deserve the opportunity to learn and thrive in schools that are free from discrimination," said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

Biden Urged to Embrace Top Democrat's Call to End Deadly US Sanctions Against Venezuela

"The terrible suffering and death that Venezuela has experienced in recent years is overwhelmingly a result of economic collapse and deprivation caused by U.S. sanctions."

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·


Record Heat and Flimsy Power Grid Across US Illustrates Urgent Need for Green Infrastructure

"Texas' grid shutting down in both cold and heat," said one Democratic lawmaker, "underscores the facts we need to invest in clean and renewable energy infrastructure. Immediately."

Julia Conley, staff writer ·