World's No. 1 Herbicide Said to Face Shorter EU Reauthorization

The European Commission plans to seek a nine-year renewal of the license in Europe for glyphosate instead of the usual 15 years amid concerns the chemical may cause cancer, according to an official familiar with the matter.

The commission, the European Union’s regulatory arm in Brussels, is gauging whether the shorter reauthorization of the world’s most widely used herbicide would gain the broad support of the bloc’s national governments, the EU official said on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private. A decision is due May 18-19.

The European Parliament recommended in April that glyphosate be reauthorized for just seven years, citing the EU’s better-safe-than-sorry principle. The 28-nation Parliament has no decision-making role on the license question, which is a matter for the commission and national governments.

The EU permit for glyphosate was originally due to expire in December and was prolonged for six months to give the commission and governments more time for deliberations. The main European farm-lobby group, Copa-Cogeca, has urged the EU to keep glyphosate on the market.

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