The European Commission has decided to prolong the authorization of glyphosate for an additional decade due to a lack of consensus among member states.

The European Commission has decided to extend the application of the controversial herbicide glyphosate in the European Union for another decade. This decision was made after the 27 member countries were unable to come to a consensus on whether to approve or reject its continued use.

The European Union’s representatives were unsuccessful in coming to a resolution last month, and a subsequent vote by an appeal committee on Thursday also yielded no conclusive results. As a result of this impasse, the EU’s governing body announced that it will support its own suggestion and extend the authorization of glyphosate for 10 years, subject to additional terms.

The statement declared that these limitations consist of a ban on using desiccants before harvesting and the requirement for specific actions to safeguard non-target organisms.

The substance, commonly utilized in the region despite backlash from environmental organizations, was authorized for sale in the EU until mid-December.

The Greens, a political group within the EU Parliament, promptly called on the Commission to reverse course and prohibit the use of glyphosate.

Bas Eickhout, the vice chair of the Environment Committee, expressed concern over risking our biodiversity and public health in this manner.

In recent years, there has been a controversial discussion among scientists about the potential link between glyphosate, a chemical found in products such as Roundup weedkiller, and cancer, as well as its potential negative impact on the environment. Developed by Monsanto in 1974, this chemical was intended to efficiently eliminate weeds without harming crops and other plants.

In 2018, Bayer acquired Monsanto for a total of $63 billion. Since then, Bayer has been facing numerous claims and lawsuits regarding their product Roundup. In 2020, the company announced that it would pay a maximum of $10.9 billion to resolve approximately 125,000 filed and unfiled claims. Recently, a man in California won a lawsuit against Monsanto and was awarded $332 million. He claimed that his cancer was caused by using Roundup for several decades.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, located in France and affiliated with the World Health Organization, labeled glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.”

However, the European Union’s food safety agency cleared the path for a 10-year prolongation after stating in July that it did not find any major areas of concern regarding the use of glyphosate.

In 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined that the herbicide did not present a threat to human health. However, a federal appeals court in California instructed the agency to review this decision as it lacked sufficient evidence.

The European Commission’s suggestion of a 10-year extension was contingent on a “qualified majority,” which was defined as 55% of the 27 members who represent at least 65% of the total population of the EU, estimated to be around 450 million people. This majority was not reached, thus giving the final decision-making power to the EU’s executive branch.

Pascal Canfin, the leader of the Environment committee in the European Parliament, accused the president of the EU Commission for pushing ahead despite the deadlock.

On X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, it was stated that Ursula von der Leyen has made a decision to re-permit glyphosate for a decade without the backing of the three major agricultural powers in Europe (France, Germany, and Italy). The author expresses disappointment with this decision.

The French President, Emmanuel Macron, originally promised to outlaw glyphosate before 2021. However, he has since changed his stance and the country announced it would refrain from voting for a ban.

The countries within the EU are in charge of approving the usage of goods within their own markets, after conducting a safety assessment.

Germany, the largest economy in the European Union, intends to discontinue the use of glyphosate starting next year. However, this decision may face opposition. For example, Luxembourg’s ban on the substance was reversed by a court ruling earlier this year.

Greenpeace urged the EU to decline the market reauthorization, referencing research that suggests glyphosate could lead to cancer and other health issues, and could also harm bees. On the other hand, the agricultural industry argues that there are no feasible substitutes.