EESC supports “ban glyphosate”

“We are not scientists, but obviously we have to accept studies, provided these are objective studies. People should definitely be placed above the interests of multinational corporations, and 1.3 million Europeans cannot be ignored. It is the EU’s very duty to respond to its citizens in a solution-oriented way based on real scientific arguments.” Said EESC-President Georges Dassis.

A few weeks before the European Commission was to vote on a ten year renewal of the glyphosate licence (October 4), the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) offered a forum for discussion during its plenary on Wednesday. Two of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) proponents, David Schwartz from WeMove.org and Herman van Bekkem from Greenpeace, were invited to present the goals of their initiative.

President Georges Dassis emphasised the importance of the European Citizens’ Initiative for Europeans to engage in EU policy making. As a bridge between the EU and European citizens, the EESC considers it essential to provide a forum where successful initiatives can be presented. “In this particular case it is even more important to listen to the ECI proponents, as there is still no common position at European level on whether to ban glyphosate or not”, said Mr Dassis. 

The proponents of the ECI to ban glyphosate which is the fourth successful since its launch in 2012, reported that they collected over 1.3 million signatures within only 5 months, making it also the “quickest” ECI ever. They believed that the EU’s goal should be a pesticide free future and called for a CAP reform which includes toxic free methods.

The question of a possible ban on glyphosate has indeed been dividing public opinion all over Europe, as was shown by a debate organised earlier this year by the EESC’s NAT section.

Glyphosate has not been the object of recent opinions by the Committee. The various statements of EESC members during the debate reflected European society’s diverging views on this sensitive issue, not least because of the controversial results of impact studies. Brendan Burns, the President of the EESC’s NAT got to the heart of the issue: “No one wants unhealthy chemicals in our environment or food. However, the debate we organized on 5 Aprilat our section meeting, with ECI promoters and an equal number of pro- and anti-glyphosate representatives as speakers, demonstrated that there is no consensus on the environmental and health effects of glyphosate.”

 

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