In July, the lower house of Austria’s parliament voted to ban all uses of the toxic herbicide glyphosate. The legislation is scheduled to come into effect on January 1, 2020. But there’s a hitch. Under EU regulations, the European Comission and Member States have until November 19 to ‘comment’ on the ban. Bayer/Monsanto, maker of glyphosate-based Roundup, is working with the pesticide lobby to overturn the new law. Immediately following the vote, the company announced it’s opposition to the ban, declaring “We expect the European Commission to review this decision critically, as it may be inconsistent with mandatory legal and procedural requirements and scientific reasoning.”
Monsanto has been engaged in a full strength lobbying drive following the 2015 report from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer which found that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans (and therefore illegal under EU pesticide law). Glyphosate authorization was renewed for 5 years in 2017 despite mounting evidence of its toxicity and a cascade of revelations documenting the extent of the company’s regulatory capture in the EU and internationally.
The Austrian ban received broad support across political parties, from trade unions and small farmer organizations. “The scientific evidence of the plant poison’s carcinogenic effect is increasing. It is our responsibility to ban this poison from our environment,” said the Social Democratic Party’s Pamela Rendi-Wagner. The IUF’s Austrian affiliate PRO-GE, which opposed the 2017 reauthorization, supports the ban. It is vital to defend the first substantial move by a European Union Member State to halt the use of glyphosate.
European citizens can also comment on the law. Activists have launched a petition in support of Austria’s ban on glyphosate – CLICK HERE TO SIGN ON and tell the European Commission to uphold Austria’s ban. The petition is also available in French , German and Spanish.
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