Daniel Gueguen

The Commission has just received more than one million signatures opposing glyphosate, the active substance which had its approval extended until the end of 2017. Since the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) conclusion that the substance is not carcinogenic, the Commission is leaning towards granting a new 10-year authorisation.

And now we have a million EU citizens using their right of initiative under the Treaties, who believe that their views trump ECHA’s scientific expertise.

One million citizens is a significant number. Significant in an absolute sense, but a lot less significant when compared to 500 million EU citizens.

But the real question is this: whether it is 10, 1,000, 100,000 or a million people against glyphosate, should this be given precedence over the scientific opinion of an EU agency? Should decision-making be rational or emotional? Can we really allow the man in the street to take primacy over the official authorities tasked with assisting the EU Institutions?

Glyphosate, GMOs, neonicotinoids, endocrine disruptors…by letting opinion trump science, we are in danger of sliding out of the 21st century and back to the era of kerosene lamps.

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