European citiziens collect over 100,000 signatures in a single day in wake of "Monsanto Papers" leaks
15.05.2017 – 15:23
Stop Glyphosate ECI collects over 100,000 ECI signatures in a single day in wake of "Monsanto Papers" leaks
With over 750,000 signatures collected, the Stop Glyphosate ECI is set to become the fastest-ever successful European Citizens' Initiative (ECI)
Brussels, 12 May 2017 - On Saturday, 13 May 2017, thousands of activists throughout the EU collected more than 100,000 signatures for the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) against the glyphosate pesticide. Over 5,000 WeMove.EU members in 20 countries took part in the day of action to collect signatures for the Stop Glyphosate ECI.
Since its launch in February, the initiative has gathered over 750,000 signatures. It has already reached the signature thresholds in the required seven EU member states, and it is on track to be the fastest-ever successful ECI. Restrictions on glyphosate use are already in place in several EU member states. At the end of April, the Flemish region voted to ban private use of glyphosate, making Belgium the most recent country to set nationwide restrictions on private use of the toxic pesticide. In addition, MEPs from different parliamentary groups are soon hoping to launch a parliamentary inquiry on re-licensing glyphosate in response to leaked emails suggesting collusion between Monsanto and regulatory authorities.
The ECI organisers plan to collect at least one million signatures from European citizens and to submit the initiative before the European Commission's next move to relicense glyphosate. Although ECIs have one full year to collect signatures according to the ECI regulation, the organisers have set a deadline for signature collection at the end of June - only five months from the ECI launch. This is because the Commission is likely to make a proposal on glyphosate before the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food, and Feed on 19-20 July.
Glyphosate - the most widely used weedkiller in Europe - is also known as Roundup, a Monsanto brand. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) linked glyphosate to cancer. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) recently communicated that it would recommend glyphosate not be classified as a carcinogen. NGOs have recently alleged that Monsanto and other glyphosate manufacturers distorted scientific evidence on the public health impacts of glyphosate in order to keep the controversial substance on the market.
The objectives of the ECI are: ban glyphosate, reform the EU pesticide approval process, and set mandatory targets to reduce pesticide use in the EU.
Mika Leandro, Campaigns Director at WeMove.EU said: "Monsanto has used secret industry-paid studies in attempts to cover up the environmental and health impacts of glyphosate. Now it's trying to buy the European Commission, too. But Monsanto can't buy the voices of hundreds of thousands of Europeans."
Angeliki Lyssimachou PhD, Environmental Scientist at PAN Europe said: "The European authorities are failing us. Instead of protecting people's health and the environment from harmful pesticides like glyphosate products, they choose to put the interests of the industry first, perpetuating in this way a food production system that comes with a serious health cost. European citizens are now standing together and calling for the regulators to take decisive action, starting with a total ban on the use of glyphosate products."
The ECI is backed by a pan-European coalition of over 80 organisations from 15 countries, and coordinated by WeMove.EU. To see all member organisations or to sign the Stop Glyphosate ECI, EU citizens can visit www.stopglyphosate.org.
Glyphosate is one of Europe's most widely used pesticides, and its negative impacts on people's health and the environment are clearly documented. EU Regulation 1107/2009 prohibits the use of pesticides when there is sufficient evidence in laboratory animals that these substances can cause cancer, based on scientific criteria from the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). In 2015, IARC classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans." Therefore, the EU approval for glyphosate must be withdrawn.
In 2016, following an assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Commission proposed to re-approve glyphosate for 15 years, shortly before its licence was supposed to expire. However, a public outcry and insufficient backing from national governments forced the Commission to issue only an 18-month extension until the end of 2017, pending a safety assessment by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
Under the rules of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) a petition must be signed by at least one million EU citizens within one year, with minimum thresholds reached in at least seven EU countries. To take part in an ECI, signatories must enter their address details, date and place of birth, and their ID number in some countries.
Mika Leandro - Campaigns Director, WeMove.EU, +33 (0)672864031; email@example.com
WeMove.EU is a citizens' movement, campaigning for a better Europe; for a European Union committed to social and economic justice, environmental sustainability and citizen-led democracy. We are people from all walks of life, who call Europe our home - whether we were born in Europe or elsewhere.
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