Health experts from EU countries are expected to discuss whether or not to extend the license for the herbicide glyphosate at a meeting starting on Thursday.
However, they will only vote on the issue later this year.
How long has this been going on?
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 license extension and concerns 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- license renewal.
In March, the European Chemical Agency concluded that glyphosate, one of the world’s most heavily-used weed killers, should not be classified as causing cancer.
What is the European Commission now proposing?
A 10-year extension. However, officials say this will only pass if supported by a clear majority of member states.
The standing committee on plant animal food (PAFF), meeting on Thursday and Friday, had been expected to vote on the license for glyphosate.
That vote will not now take place.
Are there any other options?
Yes. France has put forward the idea of a shorter extension for glyphosate, with a view to phasing it out.
Paris is opposed to a 10-year extension.
What they are saying
“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,” – an EU Commission spokeswoman.