UPDATE: pesticides removed from EFA Delegated Act wording!

UPDATE 17th December 2013:

ARC2020 platform members have seen the latest version of the Delegated Act today, Tuesday 17th December. The word pesticides has been completely removed from the Delegated Act! It has been replaced by a very weak legal reference to the WFD and nitrates directive which don’t do the job. More, including campaigning points, soon. 

Following the European Parliament final vote on CAP reform on the 20th November, one would be forgiven for thinking that that’s the end of the bad news for the environment, rural Europe and best farming practices. There is however, one more stage at the European level, and its called the Delegated Act stage, stage, a new EU act category thanks to the Lisbon Treaty. And in light of this stage now appearing on the horizon, incredibly, 23 member states have bandied together to try to make EFAs – Ecological Focus Areas – even less ecologically focused. Vigilance, and pressure on your MEP, are required to prevent the worst ideas being slipped into the Delegated Acts.

Delegated Acts are supposed to be, simply,  the Commission writing up the wording of the legislation already agreed. So while the already agreed Basic Acts deal with “the objective, content, scope and duration” of an Act, Delegated Acts “supplement or amend non-essential elements of the legislative act”. They are thus subsidiary to the Basic Acts.

However 23 member states* have come together to try to make a case for EFA’s as places where business-as-usual can occur.

The principle behind EFA is that they help increase intensity of agro-ecological processes – like pollination, soil formation and conservation, regulation of water and nutrient cycles – for the whole agro-ecosystem of the farm and surrounding area. In order to deliver such environmental public goods, there must be appropriate conditions: if we want pollination, there should be no pesticides applied; if we want to prevent pollution from excess nutrients, no fertilisers should be applied.

Of course with the great CAP dilution of the last 2 years, exemptions have already appeared: for example protein crops grown in EFAs do allow pesticides, according to DP reg annex VI.

The group of 23 however, seem shocked that no fertilizers or pesticides (aka those euphemistic ‘plant protection products’) will be used for nitrogen fixing crops in EFAs. They cite the Draft Legislation, which states, “On areas with nitrogen fixing crops, farmers shall only grow nitrogen fixing crops that are traditionally grown with only a limited amount of plant protection products and without the use of fertilisers.”

They add: “Due to this provision, the conventional production on such areas will clearly be impossible.”

The European citizen, if informed, would surely be exasperated at the notion that  pesticides may be allowed Ecological Focus Areas: such a loophole undermines the greening of CAP. While civil society will need to keep focused on this sneaky move by the group of 23, there is a one word answer to the above sentence:

Exactly.

*The states are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden.

Oliver Moore
About Oliver Moore 185 Articles
DR. Oliver Moore is the communications director and editor-in-chief with ARC2020. He has a PhD in the sociology of farming and food, where he specialised in organics and direct sales. He is published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. A weekly columnist and contributor with Irish Examiner, he is a regular on Countrywide (Irish farm radio show on the national broadcaster RTE 1) and engages in other communications work around agri-food and rural issues, such as with the soil, permaculture, climate change adaptation and citizen science initiative Grow Observatory . He lectures part time in the Centre for Co-operative Studies UCC                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Oliver voyage beaucoup moins qu’auparavant, pour ce qui concerne son activité professionnelle. Il peut néanmoins admirer par la fenêtre de son bureau les mésanges charbonnières et les corbeaux perchés au sommet du saule dans le jardin de sa maison au cœur de l’écovillage de Cloughjordan, en Irlande. L’écovillage est un site de 67 acres dans le nord du Tipperary. Il comprend d’espaces boisés, des paysages comestibles, des lieux de vie, d’habitation et de travail, ainsi qu’une ferme appartenant à la communauté. Les jours où il travaille dans le bureau du centre d’entreprise communautaire, il profite d’une vue sur les chevaux, les panneaux solaires, les toilettes sèches et les jardins familiaux.  Ce bureau au sein de l’écovillage constitue en effet un tiers-lieu de travail accueillant également des collaborateurs des associations Cultivate et Ecolise, ainsi qu’un laboratoire de fabrication (« fab lab »).  Oliver est membre du conseil d’administration de la ferme communautaire (pour la seconde fois !) et donne également des cours sur le Master en coopératives, agroalimentaire et développement durable à l’University College Cork. Il a une formation en sociologie rurale : son doctorat et les articles qu’il publie dans des journaux scientifiques portent sur ce domaine au sens large. Il consacre la majorité de son temps de travail à l’ARC 2020. Il collabore avec ARC depuis 2013, date à laquelle l’Irlande a assuré la présidence de l’UE pendant six mois. C’est là qu’il a pu constater l’importance de la politique agroalimentaire et rurale grâce à sa chronique hebdomadaire sur le site d’ARC. Après six mois, il est nommé rédacteur en chef et responsable de la communication, poste qu’il occupe toujours aujourd’hui. Oliver supervise le contenu du site web et des médias sociaux, aide à définir l’orientation de l’organisation et parfois même rédige un article pour le site web.  À l’époque où on voyageait davantage, il a eu la chance de passer du temps sous les tropiques, où il a aidé des ONG irlandaises de commerce équitable – au Ghana, au Kenya, au Mali, en Inde et au Salvador – à raconter leur histoire.  Il se peut que ces jours-là reviennent. Pour son compte Oliver continuera de préférer naviguer en Europe par bateau, puis en train. Après tout, la France n’est qu’à une nuit de navigation. En attendant, il y a toujours de nombreuses possibilités de bénévolat dans la communauté dans les campagnes du centre de l’Irlande.

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