The European Parliament has decided to deny Monsanto executives and lobbyists from entering the Parliament after agro-chemicals giant turned down an invitation to a hearing over claims it influenced scientific research on the safety of the weedkiller glyphosate.
The move comes as the European Union considers whether to renew the license 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," a spokesman for the Parliament 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 on the herbicide license could be made on Tuesday.
"Those who ignore the rules of democracy also lose their rights as a lobbyist in the European Parliament," said Philippe Lamberts, president of the Greens/EFA Group in the parliament, which had requested Monsanto be removed.
"U.S. corporations must also accept the democratic control function of the Parliament, Monsanto cannot escape this," he added. "There remain many uncertainties in the assessment of the pesticide glyphosate. Monsanto has to face the questions of parliamentarians and should not hinder the clarification process."
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.
The firm said it has "observed with increasing alarm the politicization of the EU procedure on the renewal of glyphosate" and argued that the procedure has "in many respects been hijacked by populism."
Martin Pigeon, a spokesperson for the non-profit organization Corporate Europe Observatory, said it was “extremely important that Parliament has been prepared to meet Monsanto’s unbelievable arrogance with real retaliation and consequences.”
More than 1 million people this year signed a petition demanding the EU ban glyphosate over fears it causes cancer.