Union in Brussels Ahead of Decision on Glyphosate Reauthorisation

NFUS says #glyphosateisvital for Scottish farming

A delegation from NFU Scotland is be in Brussels today (Tuesday 7 November) and tomorrow, ahead of a decision on the reauthorisation of the essential herbicide glyphosate, expected on Thursday.

Chairman of NFU Scotland’s Combinable Crops Committee Ian Sands, who farms at Balbeggie in Perthshire and the Union’s Deputy Director of Policy Andrew Bauer have travelled to Brussels to meet UK and Scottish Government representatives and Copa-Cogeca to explain the importance of glyphosate to Scottish farmers and crofters and the justification for it to be re-authorised for a full 15-year term.

Glyphosate’s existing authorisation expires on by 15 December.  The product has received a clean bill of health from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) amongst others.  However, a combination of politics and rhetoric has seen sound, scientific evidence for a full reauthorisation ignored to date, undermining the credibility of the reauthorisation process.

In late October, in a non-binding vote, the European Parliament voted against the renewal of glyphosate’s registration and in favour of restrictions on the use of glyphosate by 2018 and its full phasing out by 2022.

Later that month, at a meeting of the relevant standing committee in Brussels, there was no qualified majority of Member States in favour of renewing glyphosate’s authorisation.  Member States’ technical representatives will meet again on Thursday 9 November to consider the issue.

If no qualified majority can be secured for re-authorisation this week then the decision would be passed to the Appeals Committee of Member States’ political representatives, pushing the decision closer to 15 December, when glyphosate’s authorisation expires.

Speaking from Brussels, Mr Sands said: “The importance of a safe and trusted product like glyphosate to the Scottish farming industry fully justifies NFUS putting every resource into securing its availability in the future.  Indeed, the whole credibility of the decision-making process in Brussels would be in jeopardy if the expert committee were to choose political rhetoric over hard, scientific evidence and opt not to reauthorise glyphosate for the full 15 years.

“For several years now, NFU Scotland and many other EU farming unions have been engaged in intensive lobbying to secure the justifiable re-authorisation of glyphosate. Only last week, a letter was sent from the presidents of the UK farming unions to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker; Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis and Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan.

“NFU Scotland has also reminded all Scottish MEPs in recent days of how important glyphosate is to the future of safe, healthy, efficient food production in Scotland. On Friday, we met at head office with Nosheena Mobarik MEP, who helpfully voted for glyphosate reauthorisation in October.

“With the UN’s Climate Change Conference – COP 23 – taking place in Germany this week, glyphosate is an environmentally-friendly product that politicians and policy-makers can get behind.  The low carbon release benefits of minimum tillage are best achieved using glyphosate ahead of direct drilling while pre-harvest use on crops aids ripening in challenging climates like ours and significantly cuts down the use of fossil fuels to dry grain.

“To drive home out points, we have taken to social media, and through our #glyphosateisvital tag, we are encouraging members to email or tweet Messrs Junker, Andriukaitis and Hogan to explain just how important glyphosate is to their business. NFUS will use all channels to seek to secure a positive outcome on that decision in the next 48 hours.”

Notes to Editors

  • A photograph of Combinable Crops Chairman Ian Sands meeting with Richard Potts from the UK Union’s Brussels office and Philip Flaherty from UK Government’s representation to the EU (UKREP) today in Brussels is available on request from
  • Members are encouraged to support NFU Scotland lobbying in the next 48 hours by personally e-mailing and/or tweeting President Jean-Claude Juncker, Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis and Commissioner Phil Hogan to explain the importance of glyphosate to their business.
  • Their contact details are:


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 164/17

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About The Author

Bob Carruth

A dairy farmer’s son, I joined NFU Scotland in 1999 after 13 years as an agricultural journalist. Following spells as a regional manager and policy lead on milk, livestock and animal health and welfare, I became Communications Director in 2008.

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