Nicolas Hulot affirmed his willingness to ban glyphosate within three years, echoing the opinion of 54 LREM deputies, two days before the European Commission's vote on a possible renewal of the licence of the famous herbicide for ten years.
OCTOBER 25TH UPDATE :
The long-awaited vote will not take place. The European Commission announced on Wednesday 25 October the postponement of the vote on the renewal of the glyphosate licence to a later date, without further details. The body specifies that it will "reflect" after having taken note of the positions of the various delegations. It will "shortly" set a new meeting date. The glyphosate licence expires in December. We will have to wait and wait!
54 of the 310 deputies of La République en marche (LREM) have asked in an column au Monde put online on Sunday 22 October the ban on glyphosate in the European Union "as soon as possible", in the name of "everyone's health". The following day, Monday 23 October, the Minister for Ecological Transition, Nicolas Hulot, proposed to limit to "three years" the renewal at European level of the authorization of the famous weedkiller, echoing the vote of the members of the Environment and Health Committee of the European Parliament on Thursday 19 October. For their part, farmers are anxious to be offered a real transition plan that will best preserve their competitiveness.
France will vote against, Parliament supports: a controversy that lasts
This position comes at a time when the countries of the European Union are due to vote on Wednesday 25 October on the re-authorisation of glyphosate for a period of ten years. This herbicide, which is widely used in agriculture and whose dangerousness is at the heart of a controversy. Indeed, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO) has classified it as a "probable carcinogen" in 2015, while the European agencies, Efsa and Echa, have contradicted this result. At the time, the European Commission had declared itself in favor of renewing the glyphosate license for 10 years instead of the usual 15 years. As opinions differed and the subject was sensitive, the vote was postponed for a period of 18 months which expires at the end of 2017.
But from the point of view of France and the European Parliament, this compromise by the Commission on a licence renewal is not enough. Thus, the Ministry of Ecological Transition had announced at the end of August 2017 that France would vote against it. On Monday 23rd October, Nicolas Hulot once again came out in favour of limiting the use of glyphosate to three years. « It will, I hope, be well under five years. ", he added. « What I'm interested in is everything that's done in the five-year window ». For his part, Agriculture Minister Stéphane Travert spoke in favour of the reregistration of glyphosate for a period of five to seven years. in order to accompany changes in agricultural practices ".
" France will vote against the renewal of its use for ten years and we welcome our country's responsible position. "These include Matthieu Orphelin, Nicolas Hulot's former right-hand man in his foundation, Sandrine Le Feur, a farmer, medical professor Jean-Louis Touraine and former Minister of Ecology Barbara Pompili. « Nowadays, it is impossible not to breathe or ingest glyphosate ", they write, speaking of " genuine public health issue " but also of danger to the planet and " our entire ecosystem ». For their part, the members of the European Parliament's Environment and Health Committee voted on Thursday 19 October 2017 on a resolution calling on the European executive to withdraw its proposal for a renewal of the glyphosate licence, also calling for a gradual phase-out of the substance over the next three years.
Angry farmers: what alternatives to glyphosate?
" During these three years, we would look at all that we can find in terms of alternatives and help those for whom the use of glyphosate is indispensable to look at other practices and techniques. ", proposed Nicolas Hulot. « Many farmers are already doing without glyphosate by replacing it with crop rotation, a choice of adapted species or false seedlings, adapted plant covers, etc. ", list the EMLA MPs who are signatories to the platform. « Alternatives are already within our reach and others are still to be developed. "they conclude. According to them, the main argument of the glyphosate advocates is that "[t]here is no reason to believe that glyphosate should be used in the same way as glyphosate. avoids mechanical passages before the next cultivation. This is indeed the case. But what do we really want? ", they continue, calling for an end to a " system that is totally dependent on chemicals and is running out of breath "for The aim is to "invent an agriculture of excellence that combines nutritional quality, respect for the environment and public health. "
Assertions too vague for the taste of farmers, 250 of whom had demonstrated on the Champs Elysées on Friday 22 September. « Glyphosate cannot be seriously banned without technically and economically credible alternatives. "protested the Fédération Départementale des Syndicats d'Exploitants Agricoles de Seine et Marne (FDSEA 77) in an statementThey were afraid that the glyphosate ban would make French agriculture less competitive against imports of foreign products not subject to the bans. « The collapse of agriculture will encourage massive imports of foreign products, destroying the food security so much claimed by the French. "they published on their website on September 25th. « Develop a trajectory, why not ", Says MSDSRF 77, " but a trajectory of solutions, not prohibitions. We don't just rule with prohibitions. Surely this is not the time to put farmers in technical bindings. "
The European Commission's vote is expected to take place on Wednesday 25 October. If not postponed again, this time in December.
The environmental NGO Greenpeace met with two European Commissioners on Monday 23 October in Brussels to make the voice of the 1.3 million signatories of a petition calling for "... the right to a fair trial" heard. a ban on glyphosate, a general reduction in the use of pesticides and more transparency and independence in pesticide risk assessments ». As the petition has been signed by more than one million people, it will have to be taken into account, after verification, by the European Commission.
At the end of the interview, Greenpeace Director for Europe Jorgo Riss accused the European Commission of "...the lack of a clear vision of the EU's future...". putting the short-term interests of chemical companies ahead of people's health and the environment ». Brussels". has failed to act on the concerns of independent scientists, parliamentarians and more than one million Europeans "regarding glyphosate," it's a disgrace! ", said Mr. Riss. " Scientific research and the experience of thousands of organic farmers show that pesticides and glyphosate are not necessary. ", hammered the head of Greenpeace.
Another initiative is that of 34 NGOs that sent an open letter to the President of the Republic calling on him to honour his commitments and ban glyphosate. And for all those who believe that "there is no other alternative" than glyphosate, a video produced by the NGO PAN Europe :