EU parliament may deny access to Monsanto

Brussels (AFP) –


The European Parliament has been asked by its political leaders to deny access to executives and lobbyists for US agro-chemicals giant Monsanto, a parliament spokesman said Friday.

The leaders of the parliament's political groups issued the appeal after the firm turned down an invitation to a hearing over claims Monsanto influenced scientific research on the safety of the weedkiller glyphosate.

The petition comes as the European Union is deciding whether to renew the licence of the controversial herbicide -- known by the brand name Roundup -- which expires at the end of the year.

Monsanto's decision not to attend the October 11 hearing "showed a lack of understanding and of deep respect for a democratically elected institution," the spokesman said.

The political leaders "adopted a recommendation Wednesday for the secretary general to deny Monsanto representatives access to the European Parliament," he added.

A decision could be taken on Tuesday.

Monsanto wrote to European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and the presidents of the groups in August saying that the hearing was not "an appropriate forum" to discuss the claims.

It said it has "observed with increasing alarm the politicisation of the EU procedure on the renewal of glyphosate" and charged that the procedure has "in many respects been hijacked by populism."

More than one million people this year signed a petition demanding the EU ban glyphosate over fears it causes cancer.

Glyphosate "meets or exceeds all requirements for full renewal under European law and regulation," Monsanto said.