France to vote against European Union extending licence for glyphosate

"Regulators and scientific bodies across the world, including in Europe... have carefully evaluated the component and decided that glyphosate is safe", it said in a statement.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who was elected in May on a platform of pursuing deeper European Union integration alongside Germany, had wanted a shorter extension and a rapid phasing out of glyphosate, which is a mainstay of farming across the continent.

Glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in Monsanto's widely used Roundup weedkiller, has been reauthorised for five years after a proposal in the EU Commission's Appeal Committee was passed by 18 votes to nine. It will now adopt the decision before the current authorization on glyphosate expires on 15 December.

Glyphosate is less toxic to mammals than other herbicides.

The decision makes renewal more hard for the product, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has said causes cancer.

Divisions over the weedkiller within the European Union have dragged on since June 2016, when its previous 15-year licence expired and an 18-month extension was granted. However, the fact remains that there is absolutely no regulatory reason why it should not have been reauthorised for 15 years, as was originally proposed.

"The Commission will put one single proposition on the table on Monday: renewing glyphosate (license) for five years".

The UK, Spain, the Netherlands and Poland were among the countries that voted in favour of the chemical's reauthorisation, while Germany, France and Italy all voted against.

Stéphane Travert, France's agriculture minister, told France's global public radio: "These are 5 years during which we will work to search for alternatives, 5 years during which we will mobilize research and innovation so that tomorrow we can modify agricultural practices for our farmers and for the environment".

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