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Press Release

27th March 2014

Member States are far from complying with EU targets to reduce pesticides use: High time for the European Commission to take action to ensure respect of the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive.

Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) has today sent another letter to Commissioner Borg, questioning how seriously Member States have implemented the Directive on Sustainable Use of Pesticides, and encouraging the European Commission to take further action.

PAN Europe has undertaken an analysis (1) of all the National Action Plans (NAPs) that Member States have developed to comply with Directive 2009/128/EC of 21 October 2009 on Sustainable Use of Pesticides.

Our analysis shows that Member States’ ambition to reduce pesticides use is extremely low. Problems include:

  • Lacking quantitative objectives, targets, and clear timetables for pesticide use reductions.
  • Recycling what is already mandatory from other EU policies (Maximum Residue Levels of pesticides to be respected in water; Maximum Residue Levels in food to be respected), without proposing new actions, and a few member states (Cyprus and Germany) even setting targets that are lower than the already fixed EU limits under environmental and public health laws.
  • Indicators to help measuring use reductions or conversion towards more use of non-chemical techniques are replaced by ‘soft’ targets (number of training hours, number of guidelines developed, number of certificates issued) unable to measure the effective change.

While there does seem to be a shift towards increased use of non-chemical techniques in public areas (especially parks, sport areas, highly populated areas, sidewalks), the agricultural sector is seriously lacking ambition. This is an extremely disappointing finding, among others, considering that the EU spends more than 60 billion Euro each year on the Common Agricultural Policy, and part of that is indirectly used to buy pesticides.

PAN Europe has today written to the Commissioner Borg, responsible for Health and Consumers within the European Commission (2), pointing at a number of actions that the European Commission must do, so that Member States finally start taking the implementation of the SUDP seriously.

— ENDS —

For background information on the proven benefits of delivering sustainable agricultural practices, see:

1. PANE - 2013 - Reducing pesticide use across the EU

2. Letter to Commissioner Borg on National Implementation of the Directive 2009/128/EC of 21 October 2009

For further information please contact:

Henriette Christensen, senior policy officer, +32 473 37 56 71,

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