German officials disobeyed orders to abstain in a vote about renewing the licence of a controversial weedkiller linked to cancer, according to a Berlin minister.
The UK and 17 other European Union member states yesterday backed a five year extension to glyphosate's licence, which was due to expire next month.
After months of indecisive votes among the 28 member states in Brussels, Germany, whose Chancellor Angela Merkel has yet to form a new coalition after a September election, came off the fence after abstaining in previous meetings.
It will now adopt the decision before the current authorization on glyphosate expires on 15 December.
Farmers have relied on glyphosate for more than 40 years, but its use was called into question in 2015 after the World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer said that it was "probably carcinogenic".
Following the decision, Commissioner for Health & Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, said that the vote showed that "when we all want to, we are able to share and accept our collective responsibility in decision making".
The vote followed a heated and ongoing debate over whether glyphosate - a key ingredient in Monsanto Co's best-selling herbicide Roundup - causes cancer.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who was elected in May on a platform of pursuing deeper European Union integration alongside Germany, had wanted a shorter extension and a rapid phasing out of glyphosate, which is a mainstay of farming across the continent.
Macron said Monday that he would take all measures necessary to ban glyphosate in France as soon as an alternative is available and in three years at the latest. "This is a dark day for consumers, farmers and the environment".
Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg commented: "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".
However, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has said that there isn't enough scientific evidence now available to prove that glyphosate causes cancer, with the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) arriving at the same conclusion in November 2015.
Monsanto is widely used by farmers and it had been predicted that a ban on the product could have resulted in a farmers' revolt.