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SPD outraged at German support for glyphosate EU license
Last Updated: 2017-11-29 09:03 | Xinhua
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German Environmental Minister Barbara Hendricks (SPD) has urged Chancellor Angela Merkel(CDU) on Tuesday to take a firm stance in Brussels on the extension of the European Union(EU) license for the controversial herbicide glyphosate.

The SPD said it was surprised and angered by news on Monday night that German Agricultural Minister Christian Schmidt (CSU) had taken the decision to support a corresponding EU motion by the European Commission.

Widespread use of the product in agriculture has been linked by environmentalists to the elimination of wild herbs which sustain insects and birds, and, in turn, the dramatic decline in their respective populations. The World Health Organization has classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic" in humans.

Hendricks described the renewal of Glyphosate's license for five years despite her ministry's explicit opposition as a breach of the government's procedural rules and a significant breach of trust.

"I think the ball is now in the chancellor's court. She must do something to heal this breach of trust." Hendricks said.

The dispute has prompted fears that coalition negotiations between the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)/ Christian Social Union (CSU) and German Social Democrats (SPD) could be derailed before their official start.

Following the collapse of "Jamaica" talks over the formation of a new government between the CDU, CSU, Free Democratic Party (FDP) and Greens,Germanyhas been thrust into rare moment of political crisis which has caused unease across Europe.

Re-elections are now seen as a likely outcome unless the SPD and CDU/CSU can agree to form another "grand coalition" previously ruled out by SPD leader Martin Schulz.

Following a high-profile intervention by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the three parties are due to hold joint discussions over a legislative alliance in the presidential palace in Berlin on Thursday.

Speaking on the public broadcaster ARD, however, Schmidt defended his decision by arguing that the European Commission would have simply reached its own conclusion without German input.

"Five years (of extension) would have been the minimum result," Schmidt said, adding that by supporting the motion, Berlin had been able to secure some key points on its related agenda.

"We will regulate the use of glyphosates very heavily in Germany" the Agricultural Minister announced.

Nevertheless, Hendricks rejected this depiction of events. According to her the Commission would have been unwilling to reach any decision without Germany.

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