Merkel says minister did not follow protocol on glyphosate vote

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called out the country’s agriculture minister Tuesday for not following government “protocol” when he decided to act alone in ordering officials to vote in favor of renewing glyphosate in the EU.

Merkel said at a press conference that although she generally agreed with Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt’s position on the matter, the minister’s behavior “didn’t reflect the instruction that the government agreed.”

Schmidt himself admitted he made the decision on his own — and without consulting Merkel — to have officials vote in favor of renewing the controversial weedkiller’s license for five years at the EU level on Monday. Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, who opposed the renewal, said Schmidt had acknowledged her objection in a text message ahead of the vote, meaning the German government should have abstained.

Schmidt’s decision aggravated Hendricks’ party, the Social Democrats, and the Green party, spurring calls for him to resign.

When asked whether there would be consequences for Schmidt, Merkel said his behavior “must not be repeated.”

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