Thursday, 15 March 2018
The Walloon Minister for the Environment, Carlo Di Antonio, is studying the possibility of Wallonia collaborating with the Brussels government, in the action it is bringing against the European Commission, in the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The case centres around the Commission’s infringement of the precautionary principle, due to renewing the permit to market glyphosate.
The action by the Brussels government is linked to an analysis, according to which a subsequent European decision has reduced the power of the regions to limit the use of such substances. This is the view of the cdH minister who was responding, in a plenary session of the Walloon parliament, to a question by the deputy, Philippe Courard (PS).
Through limiting the use of the product, the Walloon and Brussels governments thus applied the European law in their respective regions, being unable to absolutely prohibit the sale of glyphosate-containing products. The minister commented, “Although this European decision runs counter to our option in Wallonia to restrict usage, Europe may have exceeded its legal powers, and we will join forces as soon as possible with the Brussels government’s action.” The Walloon government’s decision to join as a party in the case is due to be made next week.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient of numerous herbicides, including Roundup by Monsanto. The European Commission approved the renewal of its permit in December basing its decision, in particular, upon the favourable opinions of a number of European agencies. However several studies, including one by an organ of the World Health Organisation (WHO), suggest that glyphosate is cancinogenic.
In Wallonia, the use of herbicides which contain glyphosate has been prohibited since June 1st, 2017, for individuals. Farmers still have permission to use it. Minister Di Antonio has ordered that a study be carried out as to the environmental and economic consequences of conversion from current Walloon agricultural practices to models involving low inputs of such chemicals.
The Brussels Times