Status of glyphosate in the EU
Glyphosate is currently approved in the EU until 15 December 2022.
Therefore, glyphosate can be used as an active substance in Plant Protection Products (PPPs), until that date, subject to each PPP being authorised by national authorities following an evaluation of its safety.
On 10 May 2019, the Commission appointed four Member States (France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden) acting jointly as 'rapporteurs' for the next assessment of glyphosate – this group of Member States is known as the Assessment Group on Glyphosate (AGG).
On 12 December 2019, the Glyphosate Renewal Group (a group of companies seeking the renewal of approval of glyphosate in the EU), sent an application for the renewal of approval of glyphosate post-2022 to the AGG, the other Member States, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Commission. This application formally initiated the renewal process in the EU as provided for by Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009.
An application was submitted by the Glyphosate Renewal Group and then checked by the AGG to ensure it fulfilled the requirements of the applicable EU legislation (Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 844/2012 on the renewal procedure for active substances).
The application was published on EFSA’s website.
The supplementary dossiers containing the required set of scientific studies and literature data were submitted by the Glyphosate Renewal Group on 8 June 2020 (before the deadline of 15 June 2020).
The AGG carried out an admissibility check of the supplementary dossiers followed by an assessment of all available information.
On 15 June 2021, the AGG submitted to EFSA and ECHA its assessments in the form of a draft Renewal Assessment Report (dRAR) and a CLH Report containing a proposal for harmonised classification and labelling, respectively.
EFSA and ECHA will continue the assessment process, which will include public consultations on the reports delivered by the AGG (expected in September 2021), and subsequent peer-review by experts from the Member States. Details about the peer review process and the process for harmonised classification and labelling can be found on the dedicated webpages of EFSA and ECHA respectively.
At the end of the peer-review process, EFSA will adopt a Conclusion on the peer review of the pesticide risk assessment, which will also take into account the Opinion that the Risk Assessment Committee of ECHA will adopt on the harmonised classification and labelling for glyphosate.
The Conclusion and the AGG’s renewal assessment report will be analysed by the Commission which will then put forward a renewal report and a draft Regulation to the Member States, on whether the approval of glyphosate can be renewed, or not. Discussions will then take place in the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF Committee) prior to a vote by the Member States on the Commission’s proposal.
Questions and answers
Why a group of RMS and not a single RMS?
In general, the European Commission appoints rapporteur Member States in a consensual way (i.e. with the agreement of the Member State concerned) and for each substance, one Rapporteur Member State and one co-rapporteur Member State are nominated.
In the case of glyphosate, because of the expected very large application dossier and the related high workload, no single Member State volunteered to become rapporteur Member State or co-rapporteur Member State.
Following discussions with the Member States, a group of EU countries accepted to act jointly as rapporteur.
Does the EU legislation allow multiple Member States to act as RMS?
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 844/2012 lays down the provisions necessary for the implementation of the renewal procedure. An amendment to this Regulation to enable in exceptional cases a group of Member States to work jointly as rapporteur Member States, was adopted by Member States on 10 May 2019.
Which Member States are part of the AGG?
The following Member States have agreed to be part of the AGG: France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden.
The scientific work was carried out by their respective national agencies.
The AGG assessed the application dossier submitted by the Glyphosate Renewal Group and prepared a draft renewal assessment report (dRAR) which it sent to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on 15 June 2021. On the same date, the AGG also submitted a CLH Report containing a proposal for harmonised classification and labelling to ECHA.
How does EFSA carry out the peer review of the assessment carried out by the AGG?
EFSA is responsible for the peer review of the risk assessment of active substances used in plant protection products in the EU. Further information on how EFSA carries out the peer review and the procedure can be found on EFSA’s webpages.
Some facts about glyphosate
- Glyphosate is an active substance used in PPPs to control plants, which means it's a herbicide
- Glyphosate is the most frequently used herbicide both worldwide and in the EU and it has been used for several decades
- Glyphosate has been thoroughly assessed by Member States, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in recent years
- Glyphosate-based pesticides are used as herbicides in agriculture, horticulture and in some non-cultivated areas
- They are used primarily to combat weeds that compete with cultivated crops or present problems for other reasons (e.g. on railway tracks)
- They are typically applied before crops are sown to control weeds and therefore facilitate better growth of crops by eliminating competing plants
- This eliminates or minimises the need to use ploughing machines ("zero tillage" farming), thereby reducing soil erosion and carbon emissions
- Glyphosate is also used to a lesser extent as a pre-harvest treatment to facilitate better harvesting by regulating plant growth and ripening
- Press Release: Commission responds to European Citizens' Initiative
- Q&A: Commission replies to European Citizens' Initiative on Glyphosate
- 'Ban Glyphosate' European Citizens' Initiative
- EFSA page on Glyphosate
- ECHA page on Glyphosate