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France to ban controversial weedkiller 'within three years' despite EU vote

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France to ban controversial weedkiller 'within three years' despite EU vote
Photo: AFP
11:11 CET+01:00
French president Emmanuel Macron has vowed to ban the use of controversial weedkiller glyphosate within three years, despite the EU voting to renew its license for a further five years on Monday.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he has asked the French government to look for alternative pesticides and ban glyphosate in France
within three years.

"I have asked the government to make the necessary arrangements so that the use of glyphosate is prohibited in France as soon as alternatives have been found, and at the latest within three years," Macron said, via Twitter.

Paris will also lobby for the EU to change the way it determines the safety of chemical products, the prime minister's office told AFP.

But earlier EU countries broke months of deadlock on Monday when they voted to renew the licence for the controversial weedkiller glyphosate for five years after heavyweight Germany surprisingly voted in favour despite health concerns.

With the bloc's largest population, Germany's change of heart was instrumental in ending the stalemate within the 28-nation union over the fate of the pesticide, which some critics fear causes cancer.

But its U-turn appeared also to reveal extraordinary tensions in Chancellor Angela Merkel's efforts to form a new governing coalition, after a minister in
Berlin said German officials in Brussels had disobeyed direct orders to abstain on the vote.

Glyphosate was introduced in 1974 by US agro-giant Monsanto under the brand-name Roundup. A WHO study found it was "probably carcinogenic" but later studies have disagreed.

Eighteen of the 28 EU states voted in favour of the European Commission's proposal for a five-year renewal, with nine including France voting against,
and one abstaining.

"Today's vote shows that when we all want to, we are able to share and accept our collective responsibility in decision making," EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said in a statement.

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