Lobbyists plotting to derail EU pesticide reduction initiative, organic group warns 

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A vital piece of EU legislation aimed at halving chemical pesticide use in the Union by 2030 is under attack by industry lobbyists, organic and Green groups have warned. 

IFOAM Organics Europe says lobbyists have developed a strategy to “delay and possibly derail” the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulation (SUR)-proposal, and that attacks against measure have “rapidly intensified since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine using the false argument of food security”.

One of the lobbyists’ demands has been taken up by the EU-presidency: a new and extra ‘impact assessment’, to be carried out by the European Commission. Ministers added an A-item on the agenda of the upcoming Energy Council held on 19 December 2022 to request this data. So, it is set to be adopted without political debate and formal vote. 

IFOAM Organics Europe says the decision could have “potentially fatal implications” for the EU’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies (in both EU strategies the 50% pesticide reduction is a core objective), as it could cause such delay that the pesticide reduction proposal will not be negotiated, voted nor implemented at all before the 2024 EU elections.

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) Save the Bees and Farmers, of which IFOAM Organics Europe is a member, sent today an open letter addressed to Ministers of Environment, Climate and Energy to call on them to ensure that this A-item will be withdrawn from the agenda and therefore not be adopted. The letter also highlights deep concerns on the delays this additional assessment could trigger on this legislative period on urgent pesticide reduction and biodiversity restoration.

A second open letter signed by more than 600 scientists (sent last week) expressed deep concerns on the current attacks “triggered by Member States and Members of the European Parliament” against the SUR. The scientists stress pesticides reduction objectives remain of utmost importance to stop and reverse the decline of biodiversity, as well as affirm the Potsdam Statement published in March 2022 is still very relevant. They said: “A food system transition is non-linear and disruptive by definition. While current modes of impact assessment may provide insights into short-term market impacts, they are incapable of projecting longer-term innovation and disruption, which the Green Deal aims for.”

Main image: Campaigners protest against attempts to derail EU pesticide reduction measures. IFOAM Organics Europe, via social media

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