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Sweden To Sue EU over Herbicide Rule

The Swedish government plans to sue the European Commission over its decision to allow the use of the hazardous herbicide Paraquat, which Stockholm banned in 1983.

The Swedish government announced on Thursday it will take the European Commission to court over its decision to allow the use of the hazardous herbicide Paraquat inside the European Union. Sweden banned Paraquat in 1983. But the European Commission's Standing Committee on the Food Chain & Animal Health voted in October 2003 to include the herbicide on a list of authorized pesticides despite a fierce lobbying campaign by environmental groups and trade unions to ban it. "We know that Paraquat is highly toxic and extremely hazardous to health. The use of Paraquat is associated with the risk of harm and death for thousands of people, especially in poor countries where people are unable or do not know how to protect themselves when using the pesticide. But even in the EU there are reports of poisoning," said Swedish Environment Minister Lena Sommestad. The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg will now have to examine the Swedish Government's request to annul the Commission's decision. ( EUobserver.com)