BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany will abstain in a European Union vote next week on the continued use of glyphosate in weed killers, because ministries run by different parties remain at odds over the chemical which some experts say could be carcinogenic.
Contradictory findings on the carcinogenic risks of glyphosate have thrust the chemical into the center of a dispute among EU and U.S. politicians, regulators and researchers.
"It was not possible to develop a joint position and that's why the German government will abstain in the vote in Brussels," government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.
Since France and Italy so far have refused to approve an extension, a German abstention could mean that there will be no majority for the vote on Monday.
The European Commission will propose a temporary 12 to 18 month extension of EU authorization for the weed killer, used in Monsanto's Roundup, to allow time for a new scientific study into fears it may cause cancer.
After failing to win support for an initial proposal for a 15-year approval, the EU executive has proposed the compromise to avoid a six-month phase-out period when the current license lapses at the end of June.
(Reporting by Hans-Edzard Busemann; Writing by Michael Nienaber; Editing by David Holmes)