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10 July 2019

Austria bans glyphosate

Austrian Parliament

On 2 July 2019, the Austrian parliament approved a complete ban on the use of glyphosate in Austria. At the initiative of the Austrian socialist party, the SPÖ, this new act bans the marketing of any herbicide containing glyphosate as its main agent. This makes Austria the first EU Member State to adopt such legislation with a view to protecting public health and preventing cancer.

The bill was supported by all parties except the populist centre-right ÖVP. As a result of the Ibizagate corruption scandal, Austria has been ruled since 3 June 2019 by a transitional government made up of technocrats, led by Brigitte Bierlein, the former head of the Austrian Constitutional Court and the first female chancellor in the country's history.

According to certain observers, the Austrian decision to ban glyphosate could conflict with the renewed authorisation of the substance decided in 2017 by the European Commission. This renewal took place under very polemic conditions, with the EU regulatory bodies basing their recommendation on studies financed by Monsanto. The positions of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) were contradicted by those of the International Agency for Research on Cancer which classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic” in 2015.

Other EU countries have also adopted partial bans of glyphosate, including Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands and the Czechia.

The new European Parliament elected in May 2019 will now have the task of taking up this issue, one of the major health scandals during the Juncker Commission's term of office (2014-2019).

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Crédit Photo: Alessandro Cristiano

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