On Tuesday, January 24th, an important hearing will take place in the EU Parliament. The voice of 1,1 million Europeans who signed the Save Bees and Farmers citizens initiative will be presented. To face the biodiversity crisis they call for an 80% reduction of synthetic pesticides by 2030 and a full phase-out by 2035. They want farmers to be rewarded for working with nature. The proposal will be highlighted and Members of Parliament will ask questions and give comments.
The hearing comes at an important moment. A proposal from the EU Commission to reduce pesticide use by 50% in 2030 has met with strong criticism from the agro-industry. They convinced 19 (*) countries in the EU Council in December to ask the EU Commission for a new impact assessment to report on possible production losses and food shortages related to the Russian aggression in Ukraine. This causes a considerable delay that could derail the EU Green Deal.
Both the pesticide reduction regulation and a new Nature Restoration law are part of the EU Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy. The plans are discussed in the EU Council and Parliament and should lead to a final decision this year.
“We need to act fast. We face a biodiversity collapse and there can be no sustainable food production without biodiversity. A failure would delay the EU Green plans by at least 10 years and we don’t have that time”, says Martin Dermine, main representative of the ECI.
“The EU already agreed in 2009 to strongly reduce pesticides”, says Helmut Burtscher-Schaden, second representative. “This ‘sustainable use directive’ was not implemented by Member States and the promised reduction never materialised. Therefore the Commission now proposes a binding regulation. Which is good and urgent, but we need a lot more ambition to give ourselves, our children and the generations to come a future.”
- Assistant professor Jeroen Candel will highlight the weakness of impact assessments and the urgency to take action now. He initiated a plea signed by 739 scientists from all over Europe for an ambitious Pesticide Regulation.
- French farmer Jean-Bernard Lozier will highlight how he reduced pesticide use by 80% on his 80 hectares of an arable farm, without loss in production while increasing his profits and reducing his workload.
- Soil scientist Professor Violette Geissen will give insights into the latest results of pesticide residue studies and the cocktail effect of pesticides on our health and environment.
Practical: The hearing will take place on Tuesday, January 24 from 14.30 to 18.30 in the European Parliament in Brussels. The event will be live-streamed and where you will also find the full program.
More information: Tjerk Dalhuisen, firstname.lastname@example.org, +31614699126
(*) Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.