28 November 2016 – Happy birthday! But, again, no gift!! The European Commission is two years late in delivering a simple report, failing to ensure implementation of the Sustainable Use Directive on Pesticides.
In 2009, The EU adopted the Sustainable Use Directive on Pesticides (SUDP). This EU law directed Member States to start reducing pesticide dependency as of 2011. As part of this law, the European Commission was required to submit a report to the Parliament and the Council evaluating the progress of Member States in meeting quantitative objectives, targets, measures and timetables for implementation as they transition from pesticide-dependant pest management to sustainable integrated pest management. This report was due 26 November 2014 (1). We have now passed 26 November 2016, which means over two years delay, and this evaluation report has still not been published.
Independent analysis performed by PAN Europe has demonstrated that Member States’ ambition to reduce pesticide use is low (2). So far only two Member States - Denmark and France - have set overall quantitative reduction targets and timetables. Both Member States have introduced pesticide taxes but only Denmark has increased, reshaped and differentiated its pesticide tax to respond to actual environmental and health hazard rather than nominal value. The result is that the Danish pesticide reduction plan aiming at a 40% reduction of the “pesticide load” in 2015 compared to 2011 seems to have been fulfilled (3), while the French pesticide reduction plan remains unfulfilled (4).
A comprehensive study of pesticide taxations across Europe has recently been done (5). This study concludes that: differentiated taxes can be an effective environmental policy instrument in the long-term… reducing the reliance on pesticides significantly’.
The SUDP clearly states that ‘Member States must report regularly to the Commission and to the other Member States on the implementation and results of their National Action Plans and on their experiences’. And that ‘On the basis of information transmitted by the Member States, the Commission should submit relevant reports to the European Parliament and to the Council, accompanied, if necessary, by appropriate legislative proposals’. The first report was due two years ago, November 2014, and has still not been published!
PAN Europe encourages the European Commission to publish the overdue report to name and shame Member States who are putting their citizens at risk by not fulfilling the objectives of the SUDP.
PAN Europe also encourages the European Commission to use this report as an important tool to direct Member States to identify how economic instruments, like pesticide taxations, are able to ensure quantitative pesticide use reduction targets as instructed in the SUDP (6).
Contact: Henriette Christensen - henriette [at] pan-europe.info - Senior Policy Officer, PAN Europe - +32 473 37 56 71
(1) According to article 4 of Directive 128/2009/EC establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides
(2) http://www.pan-europe.info/Resources/Reports/PANE - 2013 - Reducing pesticide use across the EU.pdf
(4) Laure Hossard, Laurence Guichard, Céline Pelosi, David Makowski (2017) Lack of evidence for a decrease in synthetic pesticide use on the main arable crops in France, Science of the Total Environment 575 (2017) 152–161
(5) Thomas Böcker and Robert (2016) Finger European Pesticide Tax Schemes in Comparison: An Analysis of Experiences and Developments, Sustainability 2016, 8, 378
(5) Recital 4 of EU Directive of the Sustainable Use Directive on Pesticides says ‘Economic instruments can play a crucial role in the achievement of objectives relating to the sustainable use of pesticides. The use of such instruments at the appropriate level should therefore be encouraged while stressing that individual Member States can decide on their use without prejudice to the applicability of the State aid rules.’