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EU set to delay vote on weed-killer glyphosate

BRUSSELS, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Health experts from European
Union countries are expected to discuss whether or not to extend
the licence for herbicide glyphosate at a meeting starting on
Thursday, but will only vote on the issue later this year.

Europe has been debating for two years whether to allow the
weed-killer, used in Monsanto's Roundup, with no clear
majority of countries for or against a licence extension and
concerns that it is carcinogenic.

The EU granted an 18-month extension in July 2016 pending
further scientific study after failing to agree on a proposed
15-year licence renewal.

The European Chemical Agency concluded in March that
glyphosate, one of the world's most heavily used weed killers,
should not be classified as causing cancer.

The European Commission is now proposing a 10-year
extension, but said this will only pass if supported by a clear
majority of member states. The standing committee on plant
animal food and feed (PAFF), meeting on Thursday and Friday, had
been expected to vote on the licence for glyphosate but that
vote will not now take place.

"Depending on how the discussions evolve there will be
another meeting to discuss it and a possible vote. A decision
should be taken by the end of the year when the current
authorisation expires," a Commission spokeswoman said.

"There will be a meeting of PAFF on October 23 but the
agenda is not finalised yet so we don't know if glyphosate will
be on the agenda or not."

France, which is opposed to a 10-year extension, has put
forward the idea of a shorter extension for glyphosate with a
view to phasing it out.

"We are working with the member states to find a solution,
but the current proposal is for 10 years," the spokeswoman said.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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