France to vote against European Union licence extension for weed-killer glyphosate

The Commission said 18 countries backed the proposition, with nine voting against and one abstaining.

France remained opposed and there was anger with the outcome.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he has asked the French government to look for alternative pesticides and ban glyphosate in France within three years.

Environmentalists had hoped on an immediate ban since they claim that the weed killer, used in chemical giant Monsanto's popular Roundup herbicide, is linked to cancer. The European Chemical Agency said in March this year, however, there was no evidence linking it to cancer in humans.

It has been given a green light for five years. "This is a dark day for consumers, farmers and the environment".

Farmers, who say the substance is safe, had wanted a 15-year extension.

Earlier this month, COCERAL, the European Union cereals and oilseeds industry representatives, expressed serious concern that a failure to reauthorize herbicide would undermine trade and jeopardize the supply of grain and oilseeds to the EU.

Pekka Pesonen, the Secretary General of Copa-Cogeca, a body that represents farmers and cooperatives in the European Union, welcomes the decision to allow use of the weedkiller.

Germany had been expected to abstain again, but agricultural minister Christian Schmidt has been accused of defying instructions by environment minister Barbara Hendricks after he voted in favour.

Merkel said Monday her party was ready to hold serious talks with the Social Democrats to form a government, warning that time is pressing as Europe faces a slew of challenges.

Hendricks suggested the vote could make the possibility of building a new coalition government in Germany between her party and Merkel's conservative bloc more hard.

Greenpeace's Franziska Achterberg said: "The people who are supposed to protect us from risky pesticides have failed to do their jobs and betrayed the trust Europeans place in them".