France European backdoor champion on pesticides

Brussels

New report of PAN-Europe on loopholes, derogations & backdoors in EU pesticide authorisations.

Today  PAN-Europe releases its report “Meet (chemical) agriculture, The world of backdoors, derogations, sneaky pathways and loopholes”`. In this report PAN-Europe analyses in detail one of the many loopholes in pesticide legislation. The report shows an explosion of the use Art. 8.4 (Directive 91/414) derogations to over 500% in 4 years time. In 2010 Member States applied for 321 derogations for this specific derogation including 152 different chemicals (Note in total around 300 chemicals are approved in EU). France won the race for derogations by granting 74 derogations in 2010 for un-authorised pesticides, beating Greece (54) and Portugal (31).  France didn´t grant any derogations in previous years and now suddenly has 74 cases of “unforeseen danger”. The very intransparent EU decision process on pesticides reveals no information on justifications for derogations nor measures taken by Member States.

PAN-Europe questions if the use of these derogations is according the rules. The sudden occurrence of this tsunami of cases of  “unforeseen danger” is highly unlikely and for several cases like the use of soil fumigants it can´t be “unforeseen” at all. It looks more like a massive whitewash of illegal use. The second condition for being allowed to apply for a derogation on unforeseen danger is it “can´t be contained by other means” and this condition is also highly unlikely to be met. Given the large battery of insecticides and herbicides, alternatives for the legalised pesticides will be available, other chemicals but also non-chemical alternatives.

Many of the pesticides granted use are harmful for human and the environment. Dangerous soil fumigants are among them, hazardous organochlorine chemicals and also the group of neonicotinoides, who are suspected of contributing to bee colony collapse.  In general this derogation and others on pesticides points towards valuing agricultural needs and outdated practices more than maintaining a high level of protecting for man and the environment.

PAN-Europe asks Health Commissioner Dalli to restrict this derogation to the very minimum. It puts citizens at risks, the wide accessibility of chemicals will help to keep bad practices in place and will stop innovation to sustainable agriculture.

PAN-Europe also requests Mr. Dalli to make procedures and meetings more transparent, publish draft proposals and measures before meetings, allowing citizens and stakeholders to participate better.

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Background notes:

PAN-Europe Report "Meet (chemical) agriculture, The world of backdoors, derogations, sneaky pathwyas and loopholes" and Excel annex

Letter to Commissioner Dalli

For further information please contact:

Hans Muilerman, PAN Europe
Tel: +31 (0)6-55807255

© PAN Europe, Rue de la Pacification 67, 1000, Brussels, Belgium, Tel. +32 2 318 62 55

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.