Thursday, December 7, 2017

CALL to NULLIFY "Unlawful" EU Glyphosate Renewal

Cross-party Pressure Builds For EU Decision on Glyphosate to be Annulled      December 7, 2017

/Eric Andrieu and Olivier De Schutter
Former UN Special Rapporteur says the EU Commission's Implementing Regulation is unlawful
The Greens/EFA group will try to build a majority in the European Parliament to refer the EU’s decision to renew the licence for glyphosate to the European Court of Justice. The Greens and MEPs from the S&D political group are calling for the decision to be annulled.

The calls follow a new report from Professor Olivier De Schutter, a Belgian international human rights lawyer who now sits on the UN's Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and who formerly served as the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food. In his report, Prof De Schutter outlined the reasons why the EU Commission's Implementing Regulation, which lays out the terms on which glyphosate's approval will be renewed, is unlawful and should be annulled. 

His view is shared by the MEPs Eric Andrieu and Marc Tarabella from the S&D political group. They stated, "The re-authorization of this potentially carcinogenic substance for 500 million European citizens violates the existing European regulations on pesticides and several provisions of EU treaties." 

The MEPs added that Prof De Schutter's report confirms that the EU vote to renew glyphosate for another five years "does not respect the precautionary principle".

Pesticides must not harm human health

In his report, Prof De Schutter stated that the renewal contravenes the EU pesticide regulation, which seeks to ensure that no pesticides shall be authorized unless they have no harmful effects on human health and no unacceptable effects on the environment. He wrote that by renewing the approval of an active substance with harmful effects that are amply demonstrated and acknowledged, the Commission broke the law. 

Prof De Schutter added that the Commission's Implementing Regulation laying down conditions for glyphosate's renewal breaks the EU pesticide regulation's requirement that the approval and marketing of pesticides should enhance the functioning of the internal market.

He explained that the Implementing Regulation leaves it up to EU member states to protect groundwater, applicators, non-professional users, and non-target animals and plants from potential harm caused by glyphosate. Thus, wrote Prof De Schutter, "The Regulation opens the door to the adoption of a variety of national (or even subnational) regulatory regimes that would defeat its harmonisation purpose. Therefore, it appears that the Implementing Regulation breaches [the EU's pesticide regulation] insofar as it does not enhance the good functioning of the internal market."

Attempt to reverse a harmful decision

Philippe Lamberts, co-president of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, said: “We will now try build a majority in the European Parliament to take this to the European Court of Justice and will appeal to the Member States that rightly objected to the Commission’s proposals to join us. We must attempt to reverse what is set to be a deeply harmful decision. It will be clear to anyone that reads Prof De Schutter’s meticulous report that the Commission has been led by business interests. They disregarded not only the European Citizens’ Initiative and the view of the European Parliament, but also serious scientific warnings. Despite the large scale concern, they pressed ahead without even allowing a pause for further investigation. The German government in particular has questions to answer. It seems they are more interested in ensuring the proposed Bayer-Monsanto merger goes ahead than protecting the health of their own citizens."

Prof De Schutter commented: “The Commission has transformed into an institutional crisis what was, initially, a public health issue. It has dismissed the views of the International Agency of Research of Cancer (IARC) of the WHO, according to which glyphosate represents a ‘probable risk of provoking cancer in humans’. It did so despite the fact that the IARC’s findings are far more respected by the scientific community than those of the European agencies — the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) — which have adopted their views based primarily, it now appears, on the documents provided by Monsanto. This is unacceptable. The Court of Justice shall have no choice but to annul the Implementing Regulation, for violation of the requirement to ensure a high level of protection of human health and of the environment, and for violation of the right of citizens to file a ECI — and to contribute thereby to the democratic life of the Union.”


The European Commission is due to adopt the Implementing Regulation on 12 December. There is then a two-month period in which any Member State or the European Parliament can file an action for annulment of the implementing regulation.

For Prof De Schutter's full report, see:

The Greens/EFA in the EU Parliament
Eric Andrieu, S&D MEP:

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