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European Union approves glyphosate weedkiller despite link to cancer

European Union approves glyphosate weedkiller despite link to cancer

France was one of nine countries to vote against the European Commission's proposal to renew glyphosate's licence.

Just two weeks after the European Commission failed to secure a majority, an intervention on Monday meant 18 of 28 EU states were now in favour and glyphosate was granted a new five-year licence.

Eighteen Member States voted in favour of the move, representing a qualified majority of 65.71% of the European Union population - just over the 65% threshold required to push authorisation through.

It will now adopt the decision before the current authorization on glyphosate expires on 15 December.

The World Health Organization's cancer agency said in 2015 that the weed killer is "probably carcinogenic" to humans.

Glyphosate, which the United Nations says causes cancer, is a key ingredient in Monsanto's weed-killer Roundup.

In a tweet, Mr Macron revealed "I have asked the government to make the necessary arrangements so that the use of glyphosate is prohibited in France as soon as alternatives have been found, and at the latest within three years".

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"Today's vote shows that when we all want to, we are able to share and accept our collective responsibility in decision making", European Union health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said.

The Green party called it "a dark day for consumers, farmers and the environment".

Today's approval, even if only for five years, is a missed opportunity to get rid of this risky weedkiller and start to get farmers off the chemical treadmill.

Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg commented: "The people who are supposed to protect us from unsafe pesticides have failed to do their jobs and betrayed the trust Europeans place in them". The Commission and Parliament position were based on findings from the European Food Safety Authority and the European Chemicals Agency, who both concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to be a carcinogen.

Monsanto is widely used by farmers and it had been predicted that a ban on the product could have resulted in a farmers' revolt.

Schmidt, whose Christian Social Union is the sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, told the Rheinische Post that Germany had voted for the agreement because of conditions that will "strengthen the role of biodiversity and animal protection".