Wednesday

22nd Feb 2017

Big pharma should combat bee decline, MEPs say

  • Bees have been dying in large numbers across the continent (Photo: Brad Smith)

The European Parliament has called on the pharmaceutical industry to play a role in finding a solution to halt the rapid decline of the honey bee.

“The European Parliament calls on the commission to increase the development of veterinary medical products for current EU honey-bee-disease-causing agents," says a non-binding resolution passed Tuesday (15 November).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The resolution also stresses the "need to offer the pharmaceutical industry incentives for the development of new medicinal products designed to combat bee diseases.”

“Albert Einstein once said that without bees, man would live no more than four years,” said Hungarian Socialist Csaba Tabajdi, who drafted the resolution.

An estimated 84 percent of plant species and 76 percent of food production in Europe depends on pollination by bees.

The resolution also called for information gathering and data collection, as the exact causes of the decline are yet to be determined.

There are “more than a dozen factors, ranging from declines in flowering plants and the use of memory-damaging insecticides to the world-wide spread of pests and air pollution,” said a recent report by the UN Environment Programme.

It noted that “increasing use of chemicals in agriculture, including 'systemic insecticides' and those used to coat seeds, is being found to be damaging or toxic to bees.”

But some are angry that the parliament is asking the pharmaceutical industry to look into the matter.

“Research has shown that pesticides made by the pharmaceutical industry are a cause for the weakening of bees. But instead of asking them to stop producing those pesticides, the European Parliament now asks that same industry to develop medicines against the effects of their pesticides,” says Bas Eickhout, Dutch green MEP.

He presented the house with an alternative resolution asking for a moratorium on the use of harmful pesticides, which was backed by a quarter of the house.

Column / Crude World

Nord Stream 2: The elephant in the room

The European Commission should provide a thorough impact assessment of Nord Stream 2, a project that appears to go against all of its Energy Union objectives.

News in Brief

  1. Romanian parliament buries controversial corruption decree
  2. Dozens drown off Libyan coast
  3. EU ministers approve anti-tax avoidance directive
  4. Poland rejects EU criticism of court changes
  5. German nationalist leader met with Putin allies in Moscow
  6. German housing market overheated, says Bundesbank
  7. France invites three EU leaders for Versailles summit in March
  8. Greece agrees on new bailout reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  2. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  3. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  4. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  5. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  7. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  9. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  10. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  11. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe