EU nations have been unable to decide whether to allow Monsanto’s Roundup and similar weedkillers continue on the EU market, so the European Commission decided the issue on Tuesday, instead of national politicians.
Last week, representatives from the 28 member states again failed to agree on extending the EU licence for glyphosate, which was due to expire today.
Agro-chemical companies say banning the chemical could disadvantage farmers, increase food prices, and damage the environment.
But safety concerns have left some member states reluctant to approve it.
France and Malta voted against the Commission’s latest offer of a 12 to 18-month licence extension for further scientific investigation of glyphosate, and the required majority support in this vote was not forthcoming, due to seven member states abstaining.
If the licence was not extended, manufacturers had six months to phase out products containing the widely used herbicide.
However, in that event, Monsanto and other companies might make legal appeals against a ban.
Ireland supports European Commission proposals for renewal of approval for glyphosate.
The weedkiller has been authorised in the EU since 2002. It has been under evaluation since 2012, for possible renewal of approval, which would allow member states authorise it if they want to.
Due to Brexit taking over recent agendas, the European Commission postponed voting on the extension of the EU licence for glyphosate.
Instead, the commission used written procedures to decide a temporary extension of the licence, for 18 months.
During that period, the European Chemicals Agency will complete its assessment of whether glyphosate is carcinogenic to humans, something deemed “unlikely” by the EU food safety body.