Save Bees and Farmers

1 Million valid votes for Save Bees and Farmers cannot be ignored

Initially the European Commission welcomed the successful Save Bees and Farmers citizens initiative. The demands resonated in two legal proposals that currently cause heated debate in the EU Parliament and Council: the pesticide reduction law (SUR) and the Nature Restoration law. They should have been decided on in early 2024. However, despite support by many citizens the lobby of intensive farming and the chemical industry prevailed. Farmers protested because they want fair prices for their products and a clear look forward to sustain their farm. What they got is the opposite: no financial support for working with nature and short term measures that make the problems worse. The proposals for nature restoration and pesticide reduction were buried and the urgent and necessary action was not taken. However, to do nothing is not an option. Every delay will intensify the pollution of our environment and the biodiversity crisis. This will demand even more stringent measures in the very near future. We will make sure that the demands are heard by the new Parliament and Commission after the June 2024 EU election.

Formal answer by EU Commission

Official green light to Save Bees and Farmers ECI

1,2 Million European Citizens voted for an end to the toxic pesticide era, for restoration of biodiversity and rewarding farmers to work with nature. Out of these votes 89% - 1,1 Million - were validated by the authorities: name, address of residence, date of birth or ID number matched with the official registration. Eleven countries reached the minimum threshold. So the criteria for a successful ECI were met: over 1 Million valid votes from at least 7 countries that reach the minimum threshold.

The citizens initative was organised by Générations Futures (France), Global 2000 (Austria), Aurelia Stiftung, BUND and the Umweltinstitut München (Germany), Romapsis (Romania) and the European organisations Beelife, Friends of the Earth Europe, Pesticide Action Network PAN Europe, Slow Food International and the European Professional Beekeepers Association. It was supported by over 200 organisations from all countries in the EU, including the campaign organisations Avaaz, Campact, Pollinis, SumofUs and WeMove.

The initiative is now formally recognised. The EU Commission has invited the organisers to present their demands on November 15. Next a hearing will be planned in the EU Parliament.
We will update this page as soon as we know more.

Key demands

  1. A phase-out of the use of synthetic pesticides: By 2030 the use of synthetic pesticides shall be gradually reduced by 80 percent in EU agriculture. By 2035, agriculture in the entire Union shall be working without synthetic pesticides.
  2. Measures to recover biodiversity: Habitats shall be restored and agricultural areas shall become a vector of biodiversity recovery.
  3. Support for farmers: Farmers must be supported in the necessary transition towards agroecology. Small, diverse and sustainable farms shall be favoured, organic farming expanded, and research into pesticide-free and GMO-free agriculture will be supported.

Programme & Livestream here.

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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.