The European Commission decided yesterday (Tuesday) to launch a European citizens’ initiative (ECI). It announced in a communiqué that this initiative, in particular, invites it “to propose that member states should ban glyphosate” and “establish compulsory objectives at EU level concerning the reduction in the use of pesticides.”
It will officially launch this initiative on January 25th, which marks the beginning of a 12-month period, during the course of which signatures in favour of the ECI proposal will be gathered by its organisers.
If over the year, the ECI garners a million signatures in support, coming from at least seven different member states, the Commission has three months to respond.
It must decide whether or not to grant the request, but in either case, it must state the reasons for its decision. Glyphosate is the highest selling herbicide substance in Europe but its effect upon health is the subject of much debate.
Several scientific studies with disparate conclusions have only served to feed the controversy.
In June 2016, the Commission glyphosate’s authorisation extended by 18 months so as to allow the European Chemicals Agency (known as the ECHA) to conduct a new evaluation of this substance, which is suspected of potentially being a carcinogen.