On July 2, 2019, Austrian lawmakers voted to ban glyphosate, the first EU country to outlaw the herbicide. The bill would come into law in 2020.
Under EU laws the chemical is licensed for use until 2022, which means that a national ban may be illegal. A report commissioned by Austria's Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism concluded that Austria’s legislation did not conform to EU law. Additionally, Austria is a small market for glyphosate. However, larger European countries, including France and Germany, have proposed phasing out use of glyphosate over the next several years, and many observers believe an EU-wide renewal of the herbicide will be difficult in 2022.
Opposition to the chemical has grown since a 2015 decision by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a World Health Organization unit, classified it as “likely having the potential to cause cancer in humans.” Regulators around the world, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the European Chemicals Agency, have declared glyphosate to be safe and not carcinogenic.