PAN EuropeNews


Press Release

21 October 2009

“Why so long?” EU pesticides laws finally signed

Environmental campaigners have expressed qualified support for today's official signing by the European Parliament of an historic set of laws on pesticides. But they also deplore what they regard as unjustifiable delays to the process. Hans Muilerman, a PAN Europe board member, said: "Although we're delighted that the Regulation is now on the statute books, it's ridiculous that it's taken so long to get there." The time lag will mean that citizens will have to wait almost another year before the new rules are implemented. Among the outcomes will be the progressive banning of some of the most environmentally harmful pesticides over a ten-year period.

Campaigners hope the latest measures will provide greater protection for Europe's honeybees, which are essential for pollinating millions of tonnes of food crops grown in the EU, but up to 20% of pesticides currently in use may poison the insects. "Bees are an excellent way of measuring environmental quality. But we must be prepared to read the evidence", said Francisco Panella, President of the Italian beekeepers' association, UNAAPI, "The growing and irresponsible use of systemic and neurotoxic insecticides is a key cause of the bee population's critical decline. Their effect is insidious. I long for the day when pesticide authorisation is no longer influenced by chemical producers and marketers. This lobby acts as both inspector and the inspected party. But the price always has to be paid by people, nature, biodiversity, bees and fertility."

The pesticides package comprises legislation for an EU regulation on authorisation of 'plant protection' products, a directive on the sustainable use of pesticides, and an amended machinery directive. A final piece of legislation on pesticides statistics is due to be approved and signed later this year. The European Council took eight months to sign the deal. In May last year, the European Parliament and Council began second reading negotiations on the regulation and directive. While the French presidency worked hard to conclude proceedings on time and succeeded in delivering a balanced agreement in January this year, the pace slowed significantly during the Czech presidency. As a result the package was only approved in September. Today marks the package's final signature by the European Parliament. The Council is due to sign on 23 October. While this is mainly an administrative process, required for the documents to be published in the Official Journal of the EU, it is seen as important as it marks the conclusion of an exceptionally long negotiation process.

For further information please contact:
Peter Clarke, Media Coordinator, PAN Europe
Tel: +32 (0)2 808 3473

Francesco Panella, President, UNAAPI
Tel: +39 0143 323779; Mobile +39 335 6279401

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