PAN Europe’s reaction to leaked draft EU Green Deal

PAN Europe recalls that three mission letters - issued by Ursula von der Leyen to Agriculture, Health and Environment (then) Commissioners-delegate - pointed to reducing pesticide dependency and the promotion of non-chemical alternatives as top priorities for the new executive. We therefore wonder why the leaked draft of the EU Green Deal makes no specific reference to the importance of seriously reducing pesticide dependency.

We consider the Commission’s ambition to be very limited. Although we are pleased to see that the first point mentioned in the 'Farm to Fork' strategy is the “adoption of a toolbox for alternatives to pesticides”, we fear this is too limited and will lead to a reflection on what is already possible, rather than what is actually needed. Furthermore, these alternatives must give priority to nature-based solutions, aiming to protect human health and restore biodiversity.

We call on the European Commission to upscale the ambition of the EU Green Deal by setting forth EU-wide quantitative reduction targets on pesticides: namely, 50% use reduction targets by 2025, 80% by 2030, 100% by 2035 – based on actual use rather than risk.

We call for these reduction targets to become fully integrated into the future communication on ‘nature-based solutions’, the ‘Farm to Fork’ white paper, as well as sections on ‘eliminating sources of pollution’. Moreover, we call for the work on ‘sending the right price signals through the right tax and subsidies policies’ section to have a specific reference to the importance of environmental taxation, including pesticide taxation.

We expect the EU Green Deal will also remind of the need for serious implementation of the EU Regulation on pesticide authorisations, ensuring that pesticides that enter the market cause no harm to humans and the environment, as well as giving legitimacy to progressive regions and member states wanting to ban or limit certain pesticides or other agrichemical inputs, and . Likewise, there is a need to update the EU Directive on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides and the EU Regulation on pesticide statistics to make sure that we finally start monitoring and reducing pesticide use across EU.

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Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the European Union, European Commission, DG Environment, LIFE programme. Sole responsibility for this publication lies with the authors and the funders are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.