Malta voted against re-licensing the controversial weedkiller glyphosate yesterday, but the EU once again postponed a final decision amid a lack of consensus.

National experts met in the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed to decide whether to endorse a proposal by the European Commission to licence it for another 10 years.

Sources told this newspaper Malta was one of 10 countries to oppose the proposal in an informal vote, along with influential countries such as France, Italy and Belgium. Sixteen countries supported it and two abstained.

The European Commission said in a statement the relevant committee did not hold a formal vote at a meeting and that it would announce the date of the next meeting shortly. It also failed to vote at a meeting earlier this month. The licence expires at the end of the year.

Glyphosate is considered to be a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization, though other studies by the European Union food safety and chemical agencies have contradicted this conclusion.

On Tuesday, the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution rejecting the Commission proposal and calling for glyphosate to be phased out altogether by 2022, as well as an immediate ban on its non-professional use and use in public parks, gardens and playgrounds.

“There is a growing unease over the lack of transparency in the EU classification process and many concerns over the safety of the herbicide,” Labour MEP and S&D environment coordinator Miriam Dalli said. “It is proven that our citizens are exposed to glyphosate through food, weedkillers and living close to sprayed areas.”

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