EU member States on Friday approved a proposal from the European Commission to ban the use in the open of three pesticides found to be harmful to bees. The use of the active ingredients imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam will henceforth be only allowed in greenhouses. The pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, are widely used in agriculture. The decision follows restrictions already introduced in 2013.
The Commission’s proposal is based on the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assessment, which recently re-confirmed that the neonicotinoids pose a risk to bees.
The EU executive has come under pressure from environmental NGOs as well as EU lawmakers, who recently urged the Commission to avoid another delay to a planned ban on neonics due to be discussed at the next meeting of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed meeting (SCOPAFF), which consists of member states’ experts and the Commission.
Bees are considered important pollinators for over 80% of crops and wild plants in Europe, according to the Commission.
Rapidly falling bee numbers in recent years due to the extensive use of pesticides has raised eyebrows in Brussels and EU capitals. But the debate has now reached a stalemate.
Among the countries that were expected to vote in favour of a ban are France, Germany, UK, Austria, Ireland, Croatia, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Cyprus.
Source EU Commission, EurActiv, Ansa