The Greek ministry of agriculture officially approved on Tuesday (6 March) the re-authorisation of the world’s most commonly used weedkiller, Monsanto’s Roundup, which contains controversial chemical substance glyphosate.
According to the decision, the authorisation to place the product on the market is granted from 6 March 2018 until 15 December 2023.
Greece was among the nine member states that opposed the EU’s plan to re-authorise glyphosate during a crucial vote last year. The reapproval was ultimately endorsed by a qualified majority thanks to Germany, which had previously abstained.
In January, six ministers of agriculture or environment from France, Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Malta wrote to EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis and reiterated their “concerns” about the risks of the use of glyphosate.
The ministers also highlighted the need for an alternative to glyphosate.
Sources from the Greek ministry of agriculture told EURACTIV that France is leading the group of countries that are looking for this alternative.
“Up-to-date there has been just an exchange of emails. There is no concrete plan yet,” the sources emphasised.
EURACTIV has learned that Paris is willing to conduct a scientific research on glyphosate’s alternatives as well as provide additional data confirming that glyphosate’s use should come to an end at the end of the 5-year re-extension.
It is not yet clear whether these countries have asked for EU funding to do this research.
Sources explained that the reservations about glyphosate are not only limited to the health and environment aspects but also to its actual effectiveness, as in Greece, for instance, the chemical substance is not suitable for the rocky soil morphology and other chemical substances are needed.