The success of the European Citizens’ Initiative “Save bees and farmers” in 2021 was a historic result in the journey to reduce synthetic pesticides, restore biodiversity on farmland and support farmers to transition to agroecology. If the initiative is accepted by the Commission, the Commission will have to analyse and respond to the citizens’ requests. This article originally appeared in Justice Pesticides’ December newsletter.
More than one million signatures have been collected in the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) “Save bees and farmers” to get rid of pesticides. The organizations coordinating this initiative, including Justice Pesticides and our partner Générations Futures, are delighted with the historic result of this two- year campaign, which was made particularly difficult by the Covid-19 pandemic. It highlights the interest of European citizens to eliminate pesticides.
The demands of “Save bees and farmers” are:
1. A reduction in the use of synthetic pesticides by 80% by 2030 in the EU, and then a total elimination by 2035;
2. Measures to restore biodiversity on agricultural land;
3. Massive support for farmers in the transition to agroecology.
A European Citizens’ Initiative is accepted by the European Commission if it gathers more than one million valid signatures. As the validity rate varies between 10 and 15%, the organizers consider that the ECI must reach a minimum of 1.15 million signatures to ensure its validity, which is the case, since it has reached 1.2 million signatures.
These signatures will now be forwarded to the national authorities for validation, which will take several months. If the initiative is accepted by the Commission, the latter will have to analyze and respond to the citizens’ requests. The European Parliament will have to receive seven members of the organizing committee, and it will be able to write and vote a resolution based on their requests since the initiative will be registered in its agenda.
This initiative already seems to have had a first encouraging effect: the European strategy “Farm to Fork” has resisted the industry lobbies. The coordinating organizations of the ECI “Save bees and farmers” and other associations had written to MEPs on October 14, 2021 to encourage them not to give in to the pressure of the pesticide industry and weaken the “farm to table” strategy during their vote on October 19, in accordance with the will of the European citizens who signed the ECI.
Originally published in Justice Pesticides‘ December newsletter.