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France to Vote Against Glyphosate Reauthorization in Europe

The French government intends to vote against and block the European Commission's proposal to reauthorize use of the controversial chemical in the European Union.

"The European Commission has proposed renewing its approval for glyphosate for another 10 years. This is far too long, given the concerns that remain over this product, and France will vote against the proposal, as clearly laid out previously in July," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced Monday.

According to Reuters, failure to renew the license by the end of the year would initiate an automatic ban starting Jan. 1, 2018.

France has previously expressed concerns over the perceived health risks of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's widely popular weedkiller Roundup. Two years ago, the country banned the sale of Roundup from garden centers over fears that the chemical could cause cancer. Ségolène Royal, France's former minister of ecology, sustainable development and energy, has urged for an outright ban on glyphosate herbicides across the EU.

Philippe also said Monday that the government is asking its farm and environment ministries to propose by year's end "a plan to move away from glyphosate in light of the current research and available alternatives for farmers."

France is Europe's biggest agricultural producer. The country's farming union, the FNSEA, spoke against a glyphosate ban over worries it could put them at a disadvantage against European competitors, AFP reported.

"A sudden ban, no—a path for reducing it and finding solutions, if the solutions are good economically and technically, we can see it happening," FNSEA chief Christiane Lambert said.

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