Pesticides: Parliament to set up special committee
- Decision follows concerns over EU glyphosate risk assessment
- Special committee to assess potential failures and conflicts of interest
- 30 members, nine-month term
The European Parliament political leaders green-lighted a special committee to look into the EU’s authorisation procedure for pesticides.
The full House will take the final decision on the proposal by the Conference of Presidents (Parliament’s President and political group leaders) at its session in February. 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.
The special committee is to assess:
- the authorisation procedure for pesticides in the EU;
- potential failures in how substances are scientifically evaluated and approved;
- the role of the European Commission in renewing the glyphosate licence;
- possible conflicts of interest in the approval procedure;
- the role of EU agencies, and whether they are adequately staffed and financed to fulfil their obligations.
The term of the special committee, which will have 30 members, is to be nine months from its first meeting. It will deliver a final report of its factual findings and recommendations, to be approved by the full house.
The full House will vote on the mandate during the 5-8 February plenary session.
In a resolution voted on in October, Parliament stated that the release of the so-called “Monsanto Papers”, internal documents from the company which owns and produces Roundup®, of which glyphosate is the main active substance, shed doubt on the credibility of some studies used in the EU evaluation on glyphosate safety, say MEPs.
The EU’s authorisation procedure, including the scientific evaluation of substances, should be based only on published, peer-reviewed and independent studies commissioned by competent public authorities, MEPs said. EU agencies should be beefed up in order to allow them to work in this way.