The EU is preparing a new regulation to reduce the use of pesticides. For us, it is not ambitious enough: see our letter to the EU Commission below.
On March 23rd the EU Commission will present a proposal for a new regulation on pesticides. It will replace the old directive from 2009. The aim was to prevent pests by good agricultural practices and only use pesticides as last resort. Now, 13 years later, we can conclude that it didn’t work. The most toxic pesticides are still on the market, no reduction has been achieved and preventive use of pesticides is still the general practice.
The EU Commission has put a 50% reduction target in the Farm to Fork strategy, but this is not enough. The draft version of the regulation leaked we saw it is weak, has many loopholes and important elements are missing. Our Save Bees ECI is not yet ratified. But we had to react, so we wrote a letter to the EU Commission to make the demands very clear. The ECI calls for an 80% reduction of synthetic pesticides in 2030 and 100% in 2035, combined with strong measures to restore biodiversity and help farmers work with nature. We took this chance to point out to the Commission that we expect a much more ambitious proposal.
Once the final proposal is on the table, the EU countries and parliament will react. Some will try to weaken it, others might try to make it better. That is where you come in. We will keep you updated on what you can do!
More harm by pesticides to bees and our health
Pesticides are not only very harmful for biodiversity, but they also harm our health. New research show that there is a strong link between pesticides and the brain disease Parkinson. This is especially dangerous for those who work with the toxic substances and protective clothing doesn’t work in many cases. The procedures to monitor pesticide approval are outdated and don’t take this into account. Newspapers in different countries recently reported about this problem. For that reason we not only need a strong reduction, but also a complete overhaul of the institutions and procedures that should protect us against the negative effects of pesticides. See for example how the EU institution EFSA undermines the protection of wild bees.
Pesticide statistics: no reduction without reliable data
There is another important pesticide discussion going on in the EU. Without decent statistics, no pesticide reduction will be possible. We simply wouldn’t know the results and couldn’t compare the different countries. The EU proposed to update the Statistics on Agricultural Input and Output (SAIO), but 10 member states tried to block it. One of these was Germany and the new government came just in time to stop these efforts. So the discussion is not over yet. If you like the details: see this explanation on what’s going on.