Why does the EU Commission not act against Romania's unlawful pesticide derogations?

Romania is breaking EU law by allowing the use of banned pesticides. In January last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that such derogations go against EU law. Yet the Romanian Ministry of Agriculture recently granted new emergency use authorisations for three neonicotinoid-based products to be used this spring. Together with the beekeepers' organisation Romapis, we wrote to the European Commission asking them to stop this illegal practice. The Commission has not replied yet and seems to be afraid to take action.

In January 2023 the European Court of Justice issued a clear ruling: the widespread use of derogations to allow the use of banned pesticides is violating the EU pesticide law. The general use of this emergency provision is not allowed. Most countries accepted the Court ruling and stopped giving new ones. Not Romania.

At the end of 2023, Romania issued three emergency authorisations (15382/16.11.2023, 15383/16.11.2023 and 1538384/16.11.2023) for the use of neonicotinoid-coated seeds in the period from 22 January 2024 to 21 May 2024.

No reply from the EU Commission or the Romanian Ministry for Agriculture 

In December 2023, Romapis wrote to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, asking the Ministry to withdraw the emergency authorisations. In early January we and our member Romapis urged the EU Commission and the Romanian Ministry of Agriculture to immediately withdraw the derogations for EU-banned neonicotinoid beekiller substances, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam.

As the guardian of the Treaties, the Commission needs to take action to ensure that the law is respected, in particular when the CJEU has clarified that such practices are illegal. And as the guardian of their citizens, the Romanian government needs to protect them from toxic pesticides.

In a recent IPSOS poll, more than 78% of Romanians indicated they are concerned about the impact of pesticides on the environment, while more than 84% are concerned by their impact on health. 

The neonicotinoids are not only very toxic to bees. PAN Europe highlighted to the Commission that more and more scientific evidence points to the toxicity of neonicotinoids on human health, in particular on the neurodevelopment of young children and the unborn. 

Letter: Derogation on banned substances imidacloprid and thiamethoxam still in force in Romania

Blog: Romania gives green light for mass extinction of bees

Video: Professor Dave Goulson: The importance of pollinators: how pesticides and neonicotinoids affect them

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