Pesticides: European Parliament to set up special committee

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Pesticides: European Parliament to set up special committeeThe European Parliament political leaders have given the green-light for a special committee of 30 members on a nine-month term, to look into the EU’s authorisation procedure for pesticides.

This decision follows concerns over the EU glyphosate risk assessment. The herbicide had its marketing licence renewed by EU member states for five years in November last year.

The EP said that the full House will take the final decision on the proposal by the Conference of Presidents (Parliament’s President and political group leaders) during the 5-8 February plenary session.

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; and the role of EU agencies, and whether they are adequately staffed and financed to fulfil their obligations.

The special committee will deliver a final report of its factual findings and recommendations, to be approved by the full house.

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.”

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