A special committee is to look into the EU’s authorisation procedure for pesticides, after a furore broke out over the renewal of the licence for a controversial herbicide.

Glyphosate had its marketing licence renewed by EU member states for five years in November last year. Malta was one of nine countries to vote against it.

Read: Regrettable decision on glyphosate – minister

The European Parliament's special committee is to assess: the authorisation procedure for pesticides in the EU; potential failures in how substances are scientifically evaluated and approved; the role of the European Commission in renewing the glyphosate licence; possible conflicts of interest in the approval procedure; and the role of EU agencies, and whether they are adequately staffed and financed to fulfil their obligations.

The term of the special committee, which will have 30 members, is to be nine months from its first meeting. It will deliver a final report of its factual findings and recommendations, to be approved by the full House.

The new committee will elect its chair during its first meeting, to take place later in February.

In a resolution voted on in October, Parliament stated that the release of the so-called “Monsanto Papers”, internal documents from the company which owns and produces Roundup®, of which glyphosate is the main active substance, shed doubt on the credibility of some studies used in the EU evaluation on glyphosate safety, say MEPs.

The EU’s authorisation procedure, including the scientific evaluation of substances, should be based only on published, peer-reviewed and independent studies commissioned by competent public authorities, MEPs said. 

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