With no alternatives, Luxembourg re-authorised glyphosate for sale and use

Luxembourg, the first country in the European Union to place on the market products based on glyphosate, a chemical widely used in herbicides and ‘potentially carcinogenic’ according to the WHO, has been forced by Justice to allow the use of the substance again in its territory.

On 1 February 2020, Luxembourg withdrew the authorisation to place glyphosate on the market, although it allowed the sale of existing stocks until 1 January 2021. Bayer, manufacturer of the glyphosate-based pesticide RoundUp, appealed the Luxembourg decision, arguing that European law had not been respected.

“On March 30, 2023, the Administrative Court annulled the decision to withdraw the marketing authorization for 8 plant protection products containing the active substance glyphosate. The revocation has the effect of restoring the authorisations of the products concerned from the date of issue of the judgment,” said the Luxembourg Ministry of Agriculture.

“The minister of Agriculture Claude Haagen takes note of this. After a detailed analysis of the verdict, the government will make a decision on the measures to be taken, which will be communicated in due course.”

Although the World Health Organization (who) warned in 2015 about the carcinogenic risks of glyphosate, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) later claimed to have scientific evidence to classify the herbicide, the most widely used herbicide in the world, as non-carcinogenic. On 2 december, the European Commission extended the approval for the use of glyphosate by one year, until 15 december 2023. “This decision was taken to give EFSA sufficient time for a peer review, which should be completed in July 2023.”