German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt said on Tuesday he had acted alone in ordering officials to vote in favor of renewing the controversial weedkiller glyphosate in Europe — without consulting Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Schmidt’s move triggered outrage from Social Democrats, the junior partners in Germany’s caretaker government — especially from Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, who opposed the renewal.
Hendricks said Schmidt had acknowledged her objection in a text message ahead of the vote, meaning that the German government should have abstained.
“I have made the decision on my own and within the responsibility of my department,” Schmidt told German public broadcaster ARD this morning, adding that he had made the decision in an “objectively oriented matter.”
Schmidt’s move has also aggravated the Greens party, spurring calls for him to resign. Green MP Renate Künast told the news agency DPA it was “unbelievable” that Schmidt approved a five-year renewal of the license for the weedkiller despite a lack of agreement within the government.
If Schmidt had acted without Merkel’s knowledge, she said, he should be sacked.