Tuesday

17th Oct 2017

EU wants partial ban on bee-killing pesticides

  • Bees - essential for pollinating crops (Photo: Brad Smith)

The drop in bee populations in Europe prompted the European Commission on Thursday (31 January) to propose a two-year partial ban on three neonicotinoid insecticides.

“We want to suspend for two years the use of these pesticides on crops such as sunflower, oil rapeseed, maize and cotton,” Federic Vincent, EU spokesperson for health, told journalists in Brussels.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The EU’s food watchdog European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a report in January linking the pesticides to bee decline across Europe. The chemicals are a class of insecticides that affects the central nervous system of insects, causing paralysis and death.

The report is now under review by experts from each member state with a final decision to be made before March for any proposal on a EU-wide regulation.

Further scientific evidence and studies released in March last year found that bees in contact with neonicotinoids suffer an 85 percent drop in the number of queens produced in each hive, reports the Guardian. The chemicals were also shown to disorient the bee, making it unable to return to the hive.

France, Slovenia and Italy have already introduced national bans on the neonicotinoids. But both the UK and Germany are reportedly showing some resistance to the idea. German manufacturer Bayer CropSciences makes some of the chemicals found in the pesticide as does Swiss-based Syngenta.

The industry resistance and the commission’s reluctance to implement a complete ban on using the chemicals has generated criticism from pro-green groups.

“Europe’s politicians should prioritise saving the bees rather than listening to the short-term interests of the pesticide industry. A complete ban of all neonicotinoids is the least we can do to stop the collapse of our bee colonies,” Belgian Green MEP Bart Staes said in a statement.

For its part, Greenpeace welcomed the commission’s proposals but said the Brussels-executive also stops short of recommending a precautionary ban on the use of neonicotinoids with all crops where EFSA could not assess risks.

Over 80 percent of the main 264 crops cultivated in Europe rely on animal pollination, mostly by bees, while around 90 percent of wild plants rely on bee pollination, according to the United Nations Environment programme.

A spokesperson at the campaign group Avaaz, which handed over an anti-neonicotinoid petition of 2.2m signatures to Brussels, told this website that some member states have seen 50 percent decline in their populations.

Some farmers are now forced to hire beekeepers to release their hives in order to pollinate their crops.

“You now have companies that have hives with thousands of bees and they will drive around Europe and take them into farmer’s fields,” Avaaz spokesperon Iain Keith told this website.

Europe holds off on storing CO2

Most reports looking at long-term climate scenarios agree that some form of carbon capture and storage is needed. However, its deployment has been stalled in the EU.

Investigation

VW diesel repairs could take until 2019

German car company has fixed 5.4 million of the 8.5 million European diesel cars that were equipped with emissions-cheating software. Some consumers have decided to shun Volkswagen Group forever.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year

Latest News

  1. EU-Russia trade bouncing back - despite sanctions
  2. No sign of Brexit speed-up after May-Juncker dinner
  3. EU defence strategy 'outsourced' to arms industry
  4. EU privacy rules tilt to industry, NGO says
  5. Malta in shock after car bomb kills crusading journalist
  6. Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off
  7. May pleads for more, as EU makes Brexit gesture
  8. EU circles the wagons around Iran deal