BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission has proposed extending the license for weed-killer glyphosate by five years after its initial plan for a 10-year approval did not secure sufficient support.
EU countries failed on Wednesday to vote on a license extension, for the second time this month, delaying a decision that needs to be taken before the end of the year on the widely used herbicide that critics say could cause cancer.
The Commission said in a statement that it had now submitted to EU countries its proposal for a five-year approval, with a vote now expected at the next sitting of the relevant committee on November 9.
Europe has been stuck over what to do with the chemical, a key ingredient in Monsanto Co’s top-selling weed-killer Roundup, after the World Health Organization’s cancer agency concluded in March 2015 it was a substance that probably causes cancer.
The EU passed an 18-month extension in June 2016 pending further scientific study. That research came in the form of a European Chemical Agency conclusion in March that there was no evidence to link glyphosate to cancer in humans.
The European Parliament called on Tuesday for glyphosate to be phased out over the next five years, with an immediate ban on sales to consumers and for use in public spaces, such as parks.
France, one of the countries opposing a 10-year approval, said on Wednesday that it was prepared to accept a four-year license extension.
Farmers groups have said the product is safe and that removing it would put EU farmers at a competitive disadvantage.
Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop. Editing by Jane Merriman