The parliament’s political leaders decided last week to establish a special committee with 30 MEPs to look into the EU authorisation procedures for pesticides following the controversy over the renewal of the European glyphosate license. The special committee is a response to concerns raised about the risk posed by the herbicide substance glyphosate. The herbicide had its marketing licence renewed by EU member states for five years in November last year.
Glyphosate is the main active substance in the Roundup herbicide which is marked by the US multinational company Monsanto.
In a resolution last October, Parliament stated that the release of the so-called “Monsanto Papers”, shed doubt on the credibility of some studies used in the EU evaluation on glyphosate safety.
Monsanto is suspected of having attributed its own studies of the product to academic researchers. Some of them have been used by European agencies in their assessment of glyphosate.
Leaked emails and other documents released by the US courts in the context of a lawsuit against the agrochemical company had raised many questions about some of its practices and the work of the EU agencies.
Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed in the US against Monsanto by people claiming that exposure to exposure to the Roundup herbicide caused them or their loved ones to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma (a type of cancer), and that Monsanto covered up the risks.
The special committee will meet for a period of 9 months, which may be extended. Its mandate will be endorsed by the plenary session of the European Parliament in February, so that its constituent meeting can be held in March.
The committee will among others assess the role of the European Commission in renewing the glyphosate license and possible conflicts of interest in the approval procedure.