France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden are to conduct a first assessment of the controversial herbicide glyphosate ahead of expected applications for the renewal of its EU license. The four countries make up a new Assessment Group on Glyphosate (AGG), whose creation was decided on Monday morning at a meeting of the European Commission’s technical committee on phytosanitary products by 28 experts representing the EU Member States, the Commission reported in its latest update on the status of glyphosate.
In December 2017, the European executive had renewed glyphosate’s license in the European Union for five years, following a controversy that had raged for over two years. The herbicide’s license is thus valid until 15 December 2022. Companies hoping to continue it need to submit a renewal request at least three years before that date, which means by mid-December 2019.
Given the eventuality of such a request, the Commission sought a member State to be the rapporteur on this issue. However, according to explanations posted on the Commission’ s site on the controversial substance, “in the case of glyphosate, because of the expected very large application dossier and the related high workload, no single Member State volunteered to become Rapporteur Member State or co-Rapporteur Member State”.
The European Commission, therefore, suggested the appointment of a group of States to act as rapporteur, a change from existing rules, which was accepted at Monday morning’ s meeting. The AGG will “assess the application dossier when submitted by interested companies and will prepare a single draft renewal assessment report to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2021,” the Commission said in its glyphosate update.
During the controversy surrounding the previous renewal of the glyphosate authorisation, the health authorities in Germany, the then Rapporteur Member State, came under heavy fire from members of the European Parliament for plagiarising entire sections of the renewal request submitted by the U.S. group Monsanto, in the assessment report they presented in 2017.