EPP Attacks Pesticide Regulation & the Nature Restoration Law

The center-right EPP party in the European Parliament has put forward a draft proposal to reject the Nature Restoration and Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulation. Their reasoning? Food security – or, at least a particular construction of food security. Ashley Parsons reports.

Photo courtesy of Mirko Fabian

EPP lashes out against SUR and the Nature Restoration Law

The European People’s Party (EPP) is facing backlash from environmental groups and citizens after opposing two regulations under the European Green Deal. 

The EPP is positioning itself as a defender of farmers and still leaning on questionable concerns of food security, ahead of next year’s legislative elections. There has been a concerted move within the party to weaken or delay Green Deal legislation impacting agriculture. The party adopted a resolution at its conference in Munich rejecting the Commission’s proposals for new EU rules to curb pesticide use and boost nature restoration, saying the proposed goals are not feasible and do not offer farmers viable alternatives.

The political group claims that pesticide reduction puts European food security at risk, a position many scientists in the field have said does the opposite. Further, evidence on the ground has shown  so much tariff-free supply from Ukraine into the rest of Europe that there have been compensation packages and growing farmer disquiet over this.

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Martin Dermine, director at PAN Europe and initiator of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), has accused the EPP of abandoning three basic principles of responsible European policy-making: implementing EU law, following a scientific consensus, and protecting the livelihoods of citizens. The proposed Sustainable Use Regulation aims to reduce the use and risks of pesticides and protect sensitive areas and human health. The EPP’s opposition to the regulation is seen as undemocratic and contrary to the legislative requirements of the Sustainable Use Directive.

By defending chemical-intensive agriculture, the EPP is endangering the future of agriculture and the livelihoods of farmers, according to Helmut Burtscher-Schaden, environmental chemist and co-initiator of the ECI.

Political parties and institutions are still ignoring the calls of over 1.1 million citizens to take action on pesticide use. Photo courtesy of Tetians Shyshkina

Carrying on a Wider Trend

Party lines aside, the European Union (EU) institutions have largely ignored the recommendations made by the European Parliament’s special committee (PEST) to improve the authorisation system for pesticides, according to a press release

In January 2019, the European Parliament voted in favor of 116 recommendations made by the PEST committee to make the EU’s pesticides authorization system more transparent and efficient. However, new analysis reveals that 57% of the recommendations have not, or barely, been implemented, while 28% have been only partly or insufficiently implemented. In some cases, the authorization and usage of systemic pesticides have even worsened.

A review conducted by Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe, a coalition of NGOs, shows that only 15% of the PEST committee’s recommendations have been implemented, more than four years after the committee’s final report was approved. 

According to Hans van Scharen from the Corporate Europe Observatory, “If this shows how serious the European Commission and Member States take improvement of pesticide regulations, and also how serious they take governance and the democratic process, then one should not be surprised if citizens lose their faith in the EU.” 

However, as the EU institutions continue to ignore the PEST committee’s recommendations, the call for urgency to improve the way the EU deals with synthetic pesticides grows louder. 

More

Ukraine Joining the EU – An Elephant in the Room

Are NGTs the Cure to our Pesticide Addiction?

France – Pesticides, Mega-Basins and Who Gets to do What

Nature Pushed to the Backburner – EU Round Up

France | Pesticides, PDOs & Plenty of Spin at Salon de l’Agriculture 2023

Busy in Brussels: Carbon Farming, SUR reform and New GMOs

Protest, Pesticides and the Parliament – European news round up

Objectives are Not Enough | Pesticide Atlas 2022

 

About Ashley Parsons 30 Articles

On her 7000km journey from France to Kyrgyzstan on bicycle and horseback, daily interactions and sometimes long sojourns with rural farmers and grassroots organizations showed Ashley Parsons the resilience and strength of our rural communities. Ashley is a writer and journalist dedicated to exploring potential and existing systems of inclusive progress, whether they are found in the agro-economy sphere or in the larger biodiversity and environmental conservation movement. In her work with ARC2020, she acts as the Paris correspondent, covering newsworthy agri-food and rural topics at the EU level, communicating with partners, and assisting with the on-the-ground work of Nos Campagnes en Résilience in supporting farmers and other rural actors.

A propos d’Ashley Parsons

Lors de son voyage de 7 000 km de la France au Kirghizistan à vélo et à cheval, Ashley a fait de nombreuses rencontres avec les paysans et des membres associatifs de terrain. Elle a même séjourné plusieurs semaines chez certains d’entre eux découvrant, ainsi, la force et la résilience des campagnes. Écrivaine et journaliste, Ashley s’est consacrée, principalement, à l'exploration de systèmes progressistes - tant aux possibilités qu’à l’existant - qui favorisent l’intégration sociale, et se trouvant dans le monde agro-économique ou de manière plus large, dans le mouvement de conservation de la biodiversité et de préservation de l’environnement. Au sein de l’association ARC2020, elle est correspondante pour la France, couvrant les actualités agroalimentaires et rurales au niveau de l'UE. Elle fait partie de l’équipe « Nos campagnes en résilience », pour soutenir la communication avec les partenaires ainsi que le travail sur le terrain.