At a meeting hosted on Wednesday (27 September) by CEPM, the maize lobby in Europe, maize farmers stressed the need for “protecting science”. The timing is key: 2017 is supposed to be the make or break year for glyphosate, a pesticide, and neonicotinoids, three herbicides substances.
The licence for glyphosate is due for renewal in early October, subject to a favourable vote by a qualified majority of member states. In July, Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said the EU will only extend the license if member states back it. France has already said it will vote against it, citing risks to human health.
In 2013 the EU’s Food Safety Agency (EFSA) found that three nicotinoid substances clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam are linked to a decline in bee populations. This prompted the Commission to impose a moratorium prohibiting the use of neonicotinoids in seed and soil treatment.
In June, the Commission proposed a stricter regulation on neonicotinoids. The licence for two of the nicotinoid substances is up for renewal in the first half of 2018, on which member states will be called to vote.