"Save Bees and Farmers" appeals for responsibility to ensure our common future of agriculture
The organisers of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) "Save Bees and Farmers" react with consternation to the announcement by the President of the European People's Party (EPP), Manfred Weber, to seek a decision at today's Political Assembly of the EPP calling for the withdrawal of the EU nature protection package - Nature Restoration Law and Sustainable Use of PPP in the midst of ongoing legislative negotiations.
Martin Dermine, initiator of the ECI and director at PAN Europe comments: "With this move to bury two flagship regulations of the European Green Deal, the EPP would abandon three basic principles of responsible European policy-making, by torpedoing the implementation of EU law, contradicting a broad scientific consensus and endangering the future of our livelihoods."
On behalf of the 1.1 million Citizens and more than 200 NGOs across Europe that have supported the ECI, its organisers appeal to every single member of the EPP: Recall your responsibility for citizens and nature and give a clear rejection to this fundamentally destructive motion today!
Implementation of EU law
The proposal for a Sustainable Use Regulation (SUR) is the EU Commission's response to more than a decade of non-compliance with the commitment made in the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD). The EPP has co-negotiated and supported the legislative requirements of the SUD; in particular the reduction of the use and risks of pesticides and the protection of sensitive areas and human health. That it now fundamentally opposes the Commission's efforts to enforce the existing legal situation across the EU is questionable in terms of democratic politics.
Acting against broad scientific consensus
The scientific consensus on the need to transform our current food system in order to safeguard agricultural production capacity - and thus food security - in the long term is broad and unequivocal (IPBES 2019, FAO 2019). Also the EEA stressed in their recent report (April 2023) that pesticide pollution drives biodiversity loss in Europe, and causes significant declines in insect populations, threatening the critical role they play in food production. The report warns that excessive pesticide use is likely to negatively affect food security.
By rejecting in principle two legislative flagship projects under the Green Deal, whose rationale is diametrically opposed to the basic scientific consensus (ensuring food security in Europe by moving away from the Green Deal), the EPP is leaving the common ground of science-based policy.
Endangering the future of our agriculture
The EPP does not live up to its claim to represent the interests of European farmers and to pay special attention to measures to support young farmers. It defends chemical-intensive agriculture that exposes farmers to unnecessary health risks. At the same time, it undermines those measures that are indispensable to safeguard the production base for future generations and end farmers' dependence on multinational chemical companies.
"The citizens of Europe want a policy that paves the way for an agriculture that preserves natural resources, stops the advance of the biodiversity and climate crisis and secures the production capacity of agriculture for future generations. This is proven by the success of the ECI 'Save Bees and Farmers', as well as numerous Eurobarometer surveys and the results of the Conference on the Future of Europe," concludes Helmut Burtscher-Schaden, GLOBAL 2000 environmental chemist and co-initiator of the ECI, emphasising the urgency of a responsible implementation of the Green Deal.
- GLOBAL 2000 - Friends of the Earth Austria: Helmut Burtscher, +43(0)699/14 2000 34, helmut.burtscher [at] global2000.at
- PAN Europe: Natalija Svrtan, +32 499 32 88 92, natalija [at] pan-europe.info