Interpellations

URGENT: we need an ambitious pesticide regulation and as soon as possible!

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  • Interpellation SUR Dec. 2022

Context

The EU has a pesticide regulatory package: a Regulation on the evaluation and registration of pesticides and a Directive on the use of these substances which has been under review for 2 years. This Directive published in 2009 was supposed to oblige Member States to reduce their dependence on pesticides. Several assessments, including by the European Commission itself, show that Member States have not set pesticide reduction targets as required by law. Yet the European Commission has not taken legal action against them for failure to implement.
At the beginning of 2021, the European Commission is launching a public consultation concerning the revision of this directive (which will ultimately be a Regulation - which means that this text will apply directly in the Member States without transposition).
The draft regulation was made public in June 2022. It was immediately attacked by agrochemical lobbies, which found it too ambitious, in particular because it set pesticide reduction targets, prohibited the use of pesticides in sensitive areas and wishes to strongly encourage alternative systems to intensive agriculture.
Although perfectible, this proposal has the merit of setting a course that agrochemicals and some Member States strongly refuse!

Goals

Please send your message to ministers and parliamentarians to oppose the request of the agrochemical lobby and certain Member States for a new impact study. It would delay the discussion on the Pesticides Regulation and could derail measures to reduce and ban pesticides in the EU.

As of March 2022, a dozen states (mainly from the east) were particularly concerned about the method defined by the Commission for setting national pesticide reduction targets and the definition of "sensitive areas" where the use of synthetic pesticides would be prohibited. Pointing to a risk of lower production, they asked the executive to review its copy, in the name of food security.

In November 2022, this time 19 countries* want to slow down the process of implementing the new regulations. Based on international instability, the war in Ukraine and inflation, he asks the Commission to carry out a new impact study so that, in the end, pesticide reduction targets are not put in place!

* As of December 1, 2022, the request for additional data comes from 19 countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. On the positive side, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Croatia, Cyprus and Denmark came out clearly against delays in the SUR negotiations, while Belgium and Sweden did not no comment.
consultation on the pesticides directive
Discussion in the Council on the SUD Directive
Publication of the draft Directive by the Commission (postponed sine die)
Calling on European decision-makers
Publication of the draft Directive by the Commission
Calling on European decision-makers
Public consultation on the proposed Commission Regulation
Pressure from the agrochemical lobby and certain Member States to request a new Impact Study
New call to action aimed at decision-makers
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Where are we in the negotiations around the Pesticides Regulation (SUR )

In June, many NGOs including Générations Futures expressed concern about the pressure that agrochemical lobbies are putting on the EU and the Farm to Fork (F2F) strategies, biodiversity as well as the SUR pesticide regulation, taking advantage of the current instability to review down these texts.

Many NGOs*, including Générations Futures, were already concerned in February 2022 about the lack of ambition of the proposal on the “sustainable use of plant protection products” that the European Commission was planning at the time.

Our organizations then reminded the Commission of the strong expectations of civil society on this dossier:

Set as a clear goal the transition to agroecological practices and a pesticide-free future.
Set truly ambitious and legally binding use and risk reduction targets, both at EU and Member State level, for synthetic pesticides (using an effective and relevant indicator).
Other requests from our NGOs were and still are:

  • Promote mandatory application and improve definition of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), organic farming, alternative non-chemical methods etc.
  • Require that National Action Plans, drafted by Member States, be reviewed and endorsed by the Commission and a group of independent experts.
  • Exclude incentives for precision farming and genetic engineering techniques.
  • Prohibit the use of highly harmful practices, such as aerial spraying, seed coating, use of drones, use of synthetic pesticides in areas near populations.
  • Ensure public access to adequate statistics on pesticides in order to monitor their use and effectively measure progress towards binding targets.
  • Effectively measure the progress achieved through harmonized and effective environmental indicators.
  • Ensure that the Common Agricultural Policy budget is used to drive the transition to agroecology.

Problem: since the publication of the Commission’s proposal, which partly meets the expectations of civil society, the agrochemical lobbies and certain Member States are doing everything to ensure that absolutely nothing changes. They want to buy time for the goal of reduction and exit of pesticides does not succeed as demanded by European citizens.

However, a delay or even non-adoption of SUR would ignore not only the scientific recommendations, but also the demands of the more than one million EU citizens who participated in the European citizens’ initiative “Save Bees & Farmers”. for whom the subject of pesticides is clearly of great concern. Beyond the dossier, the absence of effective action would also undermine their confidence in European and national institutions.

What we want

Our NGOs refuse to waste any more time on this major issue! They have decided to mobilize and write to the governments of the Member States and to the members of the European Parliament to inform them of their concerns and expectations.

In a letter sent at the beginning of December, they recall that the Commission’s proposal is part of the Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy, as well as the Nature Restoration Act and that it is about an essential first step in the urgent reduction of the use of pesticides which have a strong impact on our health, water quality and biodiversity.

They also point out that the continued attacks on this important piece of legislation threaten to undo the work that the Commission, the Council and many organizations have been doing for a long time on this regulation. Some special interests in the food industry are trying to water down the SUR regulation and delay its passage.

Following the request for the withdrawal of this regulation and the announcement by some Member States planning to ask the Commission for an additional impact study, they express their concerns about the consequences of such a delay in the adoption of the regulation, as it is likely that the adoption process would then not be finalized by the end of this Commission’s mandate in 2024.

They call on Member States to reaffirm the need for rapid adoption of the SUR. This piece of legislation is crucial to implementing the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies, as well as the Zero Pollution Action Plan, and is key to achieving the goals of the Green Deal – a plan that France has explicitly welcomed.

For our NGOs, there is no need for further impact analysis, as the impact statement has already been approved by the Regulatory Scrutiny Board. The fact that this was done prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has no bearing on the validity of this analysis. Moreover, SUR’s passage through the legislature and subsequent entry into force would likely take until late 2023 and 2024 respectively, even if negotiations begin immediately. Therefore, the effects of this legislation would have no bearing on the current crisis due to the war in Ukraine.

They emphasize that food security in the European Union is not threatened by the war in Ukraine. What really threatens global food security is the current model of intensive agricultural production that destroys the basic natural resources for food production – soils and biodiversity. As civil society organizations and more than 660 scientists and other food systems experts have pointed out, postponing and diluting environmental actions, such as the pesticide reduction targets proposed under the SUR, would only moving us further away from securing long-term food production and resilience to threats like climate change and the biodiversity crisis. The massive use of synthetic pesticides is already having a very negative impact on human health as well as on biodiversity including pollinators, water and soil quality – in other words: on the basis of our food production .

The growing number of farmers switching to agroecology confirms the scientific evidence – producing food without synthetic pesticides results in improved health, increased soil fertility and restoration of biodiversity. By moving away from the dominant model whose negative externalities are proven, the economic resilience of farmers is increased, thanks to the acquisition of independence from agribusiness.

A delay or even non-adoption of SUR would ignore not only the scientific recommendations, but also the demands of the more than one million EU citizens who participated in the European citizens’ initiative “Save Bees & Farmers” for whom the topic of pesticides is clearly a big concern. Beyond the dossier, the absence of effective action would also undermine their confidence in European and national institutions.

Instead of fundamentally opposing the proposal, discuss its content. In particular, we stress the importance of implementing genuine Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – based on preventive measures, longer crop rotations, crop diversification, use of resistant cultivars, monitoring and biological controls. SUR must ensure that IPM is implemented on a large scale, as it has been mandatory since 2014, but correct application in European farms is still not the norm. Proper implementation of the IPM leads to a significant reduction in the use of pesticides, thereby fulfilling many of the Member State’s obligations under the SUR, while preserving and enhancing biodiversity and the best in the world. scope of operation.

It therefore urges Member States to oppose an additional impact study which would lead to a delay in the implementation of the SUR Regulation at EU level. EU decision makers need to live up to their responsibilities and listen to independent science and EU citizens who express concern about pesticide use in the EU Barometer (especially in France on the subject of the presence of pesticide residues in food) and the European citizens’ initiative Save Bees and Farmers.

[1] https://food.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2022-06/pesticides_sud_eval_2022_reg_2022-305_en.pdf

[2] Politico, 17.11.2022, EU governments slap down ‘too ambitious’ Green Deal pesticide bill.

[3] https://eeb.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/2022-03-21-Publication-of-the-revision-of-the-legislation-on-the-sustainable-use-of-pesticides.pdf

[4] https://zenodo.org/record/6366132#.Y1pSfS8ithD.

[5] https://presse.inserm.fr/en/inserm-publishes-its-latest-collective-expert-review-on-the-health-effects-of-pesticides/43303/.

[6] UN General Assembly: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, 24.01.2017, A/HRC/34/48.

[7] https://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2022/11/23/les-couts-caches-des-pesticides-s-eleveraient-de-370-millions-a-plusieurs-milliards-d-euros-par-an-pour-la-france_6151303_3244.html

[8] https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/citizens-initiative-to-phase-out-synthetic-pesticides-placed-on-eu-agenda/.

[9] https://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/corporate_publications/files/eurobarometer22/country-factsheets/eb972_factsheet_fr_fr.pdf

  • Our NGOs refuse to waste any more time on this major issue! They have decided to mobilize and write to the governments of the Member States and to the members of the European Parliament to inform them of their concerns and expectations.

    In a letter sent at the beginning of December, they recall that the Commission’s proposal is part of the Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy, as well as the Nature Restoration Act and that it is about an essential first step in the urgent reduction of the use of pesticides which have a strong impact on our health, water quality and biodiversity.

    They also point out that the continued attacks on this important piece of legislation threaten to undo the work that the Commission, the Council and many organizations have been doing for a long time on this regulation. Some special interests in the food industry are trying to water down the SUR regulation and delay its passage.

    Following the request for the withdrawal of this regulation and the announcement by some Member States planning to ask the Commission for an additional impact study, they express their concerns about the consequences of such a delay in the adoption of the regulation, as it is likely that the adoption process would then not be finalized by the end of this Commission’s mandate in 2024.

    They call on Member States to reaffirm the need for rapid adoption of the SUR. This piece of legislation is crucial to implementing the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies, as well as the Zero Pollution Action Plan, and is key to achieving the goals of the Green Deal – a plan that France has explicitly welcomed.

    For our NGOs, there is no need for further impact analysis, as the impact statement has already been approved by the Regulatory Scrutiny Board. The fact that this was done prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has no bearing on the validity of this analysis. Moreover, SUR’s passage through the legislature and subsequent entry into force would likely take until late 2023 and 2024 respectively, even if negotiations begin immediately. Therefore, the effects of this legislation would have no bearing on the current crisis due to the war in Ukraine.

    They emphasize that food security in the European Union is not threatened by the war in Ukraine. What really threatens global food security is the current model of intensive agricultural production that destroys the basic natural resources for food production – soils and biodiversity. As civil society organizations and more than 660 scientists and other food systems experts have pointed out, postponing and diluting environmental actions, such as the pesticide reduction targets proposed under the SUR, would only moving us further away from securing long-term food production and resilience to threats like climate change and the biodiversity crisis. The massive use of synthetic pesticides is already having a very negative impact on human health as well as on biodiversity including pollinators, water and soil quality – in other words: on the basis of our food production .

    The growing number of farmers switching to agroecology confirms the scientific evidence – producing food without synthetic pesticides results in improved health, increased soil fertility and restoration of biodiversity. By moving away from the dominant model whose negative externalities are proven, the economic resilience of farmers is increased, thanks to the acquisition of independence from agribusiness.

    A delay or even non-adoption of SUR would ignore not only the scientific recommendations, but also the demands of the more than one million EU citizens who participated in the European citizens’ initiative “Save Bees & Farmers” for whom the topic of pesticides is clearly a big concern. Beyond the dossier, the absence of effective action would also undermine their confidence in European and national institutions.

    Instead of fundamentally opposing the proposal, discuss its content. In particular, we stress the importance of implementing genuine Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – based on preventive measures, longer crop rotations, crop diversification, use of resistant cultivars, monitoring and biological controls. SUR must ensure that IPM is implemented on a large scale, as it has been mandatory since 2014, but correct application in European farms is still not the norm. Proper implementation of the IPM leads to a significant reduction in the use of pesticides, thereby fulfilling many of the Member State’s obligations under the SUR, while preserving and enhancing biodiversity and the best in the world. scope of operation.

    It therefore urges Member States to oppose an additional impact study which would lead to a delay in the implementation of the SUR Regulation at EU level. EU decision makers need to live up to their responsibilities and listen to independent science and EU citizens who express concern about pesticide use in the EU Barometer (especially in France on the subject of the presence of pesticide residues in food) and the European citizens’ initiative Save Bees and Farmers.

    [1] https://food.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2022-06/pesticides_sud_eval_2022_reg_2022-305_en.pdf

    [2] Politico, 17.11.2022, EU governments slap down ‘too ambitious’ Green Deal pesticide bill.

    [3] https://eeb.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/2022-03-21-Publication-of-the-revision-of-the-legislation-on-the-sustainable-use-of-pesticides.pdf

    [4] https://zenodo.org/record/6366132#.Y1pSfS8ithD.

    [5] https://presse.inserm.fr/en/inserm-publishes-its-latest-collective-expert-review-on-the-health-effects-of-pesticides/43303/.

    [6] UN General Assembly: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, 24.01.2017, A/HRC/34/48.

    [7] https://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2022/11/23/les-couts-caches-des-pesticides-s-eleveraient-de-370-millions-a-plusieurs-milliards-d-euros-par-an-pour-la-france_6151303_3244.html

    [8] https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/citizens-initiative-to-phase-out-synthetic-pesticides-placed-on-eu-agenda/.

    [9] https://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/corporate_publications/files/eurobarometer22/country-factsheets/eb972_factsheet_fr_fr.pdf

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