On Wednesday 22 November, MEPs will vote in plenary the EU Commission’s pesticide reduction regulation proposal (SUR). Campaigners from Friends of the Earth Europe, WeMove Europe, Générations Futures, BirdLife Europe & Central Asia, PAN Europe lighted up the EU Parliament with a giant projection calling on them to ‘Say NO to pesticides’ and to support an ambitious regulation that champions biodiversity and people’s health over corporate profits.
The SUR is an essential piece of legislation to tackle the grave biodiversity crisis. It is part of the European Green Deal’s food and farming package (Farm to Fork Strategy) which aims to halve pesticide use and risk by 2030. But following a massive lobbying campaign from pesticide corporations, conservative lawmakers have been trying to significantly water down the regulation and make its targets non-binding.
Clara Bourgin, food, farming and nature campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said:
“Scientists have sounded the alarm and over a million voices across Europe have echoed the call – the EU must urgently transition away from pesticides. To MEPs across the board, we ask: will you choose nature and people’s health, or the industry’s toxic interests? The spotlight is on you!”
The current proposal includes binding targets for pesticide reduction aligned with the Farm to Fork strategy, a ban of synthetic pesticides in sensitive areas, a limit on pesticide use in area used by vulnerable groups like hotels or kindergartens, as well as measures to ensure the implementations of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
While some progress was made in the Environmental Committee, several MEPs are seeking to lower the reduction target for the most hazardous pesticides from 65% to 50%, to weaken the protection of sensitive areas and to postpone the achievement of all the goals to 2035 instead of 2030. Other amendments have been tabled which could heavily lower the ambition of the SUR.
Yoann Coulmont, campaigner at Générations Futures, commented:
“A massive lobby campaign from the agro-chemical industry has not stopped threatening the much needed ambition of the SUR. An investigation of DeSmog shed light on “the deep ties” between big agribusinesses and conservative MEPs. They have decided to favour private corporations’ interests over the citizens they’re supposed to represent. People’s health, biodiversity loss and overall pollution are at stake. We are here to call on MEPs responsibility to tackle these crises with a strong pesticides regulation.”
- More than 1 million citizens signed the Save Bees and Farmers European Citizen Initiative calling on the EU to phase out synthetic pesticides and support to farmers in the transition towards sustainable food and farming systems.
- A recent poll conducted by the European Public Affairs team of the market research agency IPSOS found that as many as 82% of respondents are concerned about the environmental impact of pesticide use while 76% worry about the health risks.
- An investigation from the independent media DeSmog mapped the deep ties between Big Ag and Europe’s Right-Wing Politicians