MEPs call for plenary debate with Commission on Monsanto papers

MEPs supported on Tuesday the adoption of an oral question which could lead to a debate in the plenary with the European Commission on the Monsanto papers.

The Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee voted by in favour of the oral question, which means it has a strong chance of being put on the plenary agenda.

The MEPs  say documents unsealed by a US court relating to Monsanto studies on glyphosate have “shed doubts on the credibility of some of the Monsanto-sponsored studies.”,

The MEPs highlight that the studies were among the evidence that the European Food Safety Authority and the European Chemicals Agency used in their evaluation of the safety of the widely-used herbicide.

The Parliamentary question reads: “In the light of public concern, which steps is the Commission taking to ensure that the decision on the renewal of the approval of glyphosate is based on credible and independent findings?”

The oral question, which is supported by all the political groups, also asks: “Will the Commission investigate alleged undue influence from the applicant?”

The question follows the unsealing of a number of internal Monsanto documents by the judge in proceedings in California involving victims of non-Hodgkin lymphoma who claim Round-up caused their cancer, a claim strongly denied by Monsanto.

The MEPs also ask the Commission what it will do – in the context of the Better Regulation REFIT review – to improve transparency and to promote use of peer-reviewed, publicly available scientific studies in the evaluation of active substances.

Both the General Food Law (178/2002) and the Plant Protection Product Regulation are subject to this review.

The Commission has not yet said definitely whether it will propose changes to the General Food Law, which set up EFSA.

The MEPs also ask how the Commission and EFSA provide for the disclosure of scientific evidence as required by Article 63 of the Plant Protection Product Regulation.

They highlight two case law judgements – C-673/13 and C-442/14. The former case was against the Commission and taken by Pesticide Action Network and Stichting Greenpeace..

The second was a preliminary ruling in a case against Bayer. Both were about giving access to environmental information under the Aarhus Convention.

Finally, the MEPs ask what measures the Commission is taking to finance research and innovation with regard to alternative sustainable and cost efficient plant protection treatments.

The question is signed by Angelique Delahaye (EPP), Miriam Dalli (Socialist), Julie Girling (European Conservative and Reformist), Gerben Jan Gerbrandy (Liberal), Katerina Konecna (GUE European Left) , Bart Staes (Green), Piernicola Pedicini (European Freedom and Direct Democracy) and Jean-Francois Jalkh (Far-right ENF).

Not all oral questions supported by a committee get on the plenary agenda but this one has a strong chance because of the cross-party support and nature of the issues raised

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