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Austria Reignites Europe's Weedkiller War

Vienna’s parliament is set to vote on an outright glyphosate ban on July 2.

Austria has dramatically upped the stakes in Europe’s long-running glyphosate battle by putting itself on track to become the first EU country to ban the controversial herbicide.

The unexpectedly decisive action from Austria on Wednesday will heap pressure on EU heavyweights France and Germany, which are riven by political infighting over whether to ban the key ingredient in Bayer’s ubiquitous Roundup weedkiller. While both Paris and Berlin are looking to phase out glyphosate, they have held back on an outright ban because of a backlash from farmers who argue that they need the chemical to maintain yields of crops from barley to carrots.

Austria now looks set to inject fresh impetus into the broader European debate by holding a vote on a ban on July 2. The bill is expected to pass after the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) backed a proposal by the Social Democrats to outlaw all commercial uses of glyphosate, ahead of elections later this year.

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