The Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed has today voted to approve the extension of the European Commission's restrictions on the use of three of the most widely used neonicotinoids.
Greens/EFA food safety spokesperson Bart Staes comments:
"At long last, this strong action against neonicotinoids has been approved. Comprehensively banning the mostly widely used neonicotinoids is an essential step to reverse the decline in bee populations. Bees and other pollinators play a huge role in maintaining biodiversity and in the production of our food and they have to be protected."
In 2013, the European Commission partially restricted the use of three of the most popular neonicotinoids, (with exception for crops deemed not attractive to bees and crops in greenhouses) explicitly to protect bees.
The proposal to renew and broaden this ban was expected to be voted on in May 2017. But Member States asked to postpone the vote in order to be able to comment on the conclusions of EFSA’s risk assessment of the above mentioned three substances.
After some delay, EFSA completed their risk assessment and published the conclusions on 28th of February 2018, stating that “most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees”.
The following day, 1st March 2018, the European Parliament voted almost unanimously to support the Erdõs report on beekeeping, that called “on the Commission and the Member States to act on the established scientific consensus and ban those pesticide active substances, including those neonicotinoids and those systemic insecticides which are scientifically proven (...) to be dangerous to bee health”.
On 16th March 50 NGOs sent a letter to the COM asking for a vote of MS at the standing committee of 22-23rd March, as the item was not foreseen on the agenda.
On 20th March, on the initiative of Greens/EFA MEP Thomas Waitz, MEPs from different political groups sent a letter to the Commission with similar demands.