European Parliament rejects legislative project to reduce use of pesticides 

Mon 27/11/2023 by Richard Wilkinson

At the end of November, the plenary session of the European Parliament rejected the legislative project that aims to reduce the use of pesticides in the European Union. The law received 299 votes against and only 207 in favour, while 121 MEPs abstained.

“This is a very dark day for the health of society as a whole and for the environment and also for the liberation of farmers from agroindustry,” said environmentalist parliamentarian for Austria Sarah Wiener, after the result. She asked to vote for the legislative project to be returned to the Environment Committee of the European Parliament for reconsideration, but MEPs also rejected that possibility.

In a press conference after the vote, the politician considered that the legislative project is “dead” in the current European legislature and considered it “very unlikely” that it will go ahead before the 2024 European Parliament elections.

The European Commission’s original legislative initiative, presented in June last year, set out legally binding targets at national and EU level to reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides and the use of pesticides by 50%. most dangerous pesticides by 2030.

Under the EC plan, Member States would set their own national reduction targets within parameters to ensure EU-wide targets are achieved. However, the proposal has had a complicated parliamentary process due to the differences between the left and right parties and the different points of view of the Environment and Agriculture committees of the European Parliament.

While the Environment Commission was committed to ambitious objectives to reduce the use of pesticides and placed emphasis on the protection of nature and health, the Agriculture Commission pointed to the impact that the law could have on food security. MEPs from the Agriculture Committee warned that there are still not enough alternatives to chemical pesticides.

German minister Cem Özdemir agreed with the general objective of reducing the use of pesticides by 50% by 2030, but expressed his opposition to the Commission’s “strategy” to achieve it. Finland’s minister Sari Essayah expressed her opposition to setting national objectives for each EU Member State because in her country they do not use “many pesticides.” Thus, she considered that it would be “very unfair” to establish national goals for countries that already use a small amount of these chemicals.


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