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Towards a ban on access to the European Parliament for Monsanto

Ⓒ BELGA/AFP – SISKA GREMMELPREZ – | The heads of the political groups of the European Parliament want to prohibit the access of the institution to the executives and lobbyists of the giant of agrochemistry Monsanto

The heads of the European Parliament’s political groups have called for a ban on the institution’s access to the executives and lobbyists of the agrochemical giant Monsanto after its refusal to attend a hearing, of Parliament.

The refusal expressed by Monsanto, in a letter to the President of the European Parliament and to the leaders of the political groups, “showed a lack of understanding and deep respect for a democratically elected public institution” spokesperson of the Parliament.

The group chairmen therefore “yesterday adopted a recommendation to the Secretary General to prohibit the access of the European Parliament to the representatives of Monsanto,” he explained.

The Secretary-General is now to “draw up a note to be submitted to the Quaestors on Tuesday for approval”, which is responsible for administrative and financial matters within the institution.

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – REMY GABALDA – | Demonstrators demanding ban on glyphosate herbicide on August 17, 2017 in Foix, Ariège

At the hearing in the European Parliament on 11 October, MEPs wanted to question the company about the “Monsanto papers”, documents declassified by the American justice which show, according to the media, that the American group weighed on the drafting of scientific studies.

In his reply to the Conference of Presidents, Monsanto said “do not feel that the discussion as proposed is the appropriate forum to address such topics,” according to a copy of the letter seen by AFP.

Monsanto markets the RoundUp, a product whose active ingredient is glyphosate, a herbicide at the heart of controversy in Europe.

The European license for glyphosate expires at the end of 2017 and the debate on its renewal is raging within the EU.

The European Commission, which recommends its re-authorization for 10 years, hopes that the Member States will vote quickly for or against this renewal by qualified majority vote.

Ⓒ AFP – THIERRY CHARLIER – | Demonstration against glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the EU, in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on 19 July 2017

The European Food Safety Agency (Efsa) has recently been accused by the media of reproducing arguments from pesticide manufacturers, including Monsanto, in a report on glyphosate that served as the basis for the recommendation to renew the Commission.

The agency rejected these criticisms, arguing that the documents mentioned by the media were not part of the Efsa report, but of the notes provided by the rapporteur Member State to the agency in this file.

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