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Germany to abstain in EU glyphosate vote next week

(Dave Bedard photo)

Berlin | Reuters — Germany will abstain in a European Union vote next week on the continued use of glyphosate in herbicides, because ministries run by different parties remain at odds over the chemical which some experts say could be carcinogenic.

Contradictory findings on the carcinogenic risks of glyphosate have thrust the chemical into the centre of a dispute among EU and U.S. politicians, regulators and researchers.

“It was not possible to develop a joint position and that’s why the German government will abstain in the vote in Brussels,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

Since France and Italy so far have refused to approve an extension, a German abstention could mean there will be no majority for the vote on Monday.

The European Commission will propose a temporary 12- to 18-month extension of EU authorization for the herbicide, used in Monsanto’s Roundup, to allow time for a new scientific study into fears it may cause cancer.

After failing to win support for an initial proposal for a 15-year approval, the EU executive has proposed the compromise to avoid a six-month phase-out period when the current licence lapses at the end of June.

Reporting for Reuters by Hans-Edzard Busemann; writing by Michael Nienaber.

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