EU Parliament and Pesticides

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Who supported farmers, people and nature? If you care about human health and the environment, be informed and use your vote wisely!

Check out the voting records of the European Parliamentary Parties in key areas of concern using this invaluable information tool.

Ahead of the EU elections, PAN Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe, and Corporate Europe Observatory present a set of voting score cards by political group on the pesticide reduction proposal. These scorecards show which share of political groups supported a strong law, and which ones contributed to the ultimate abandonment of it.

The high use of pesticides is a major problem in our current food system, causing harm to and failing farmers, consumers, and future generations.

Recently, the EU introduced a new plan on pesticides – the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulation (SUR) – to cut pesticide use and risk by half in the EU and protect people and nature.

However, this proposal was severely watered down and ultimately failed to pass in the European Parliament. This means a failure to respond to the demand by over 1 million citizens for the EU to drastically reduce pesticide use and to support farmers in this transition.

Ahead of the EU elections, PAN Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe, and Corporate Europe Observatory today present a set of voting score cards by political groupon the pesticide reduction proposal. These scorecards show which share of political groups supported a strong law, and which ones contributed to the ultimate abandonment of it.

We chose six amendments on a variety of key aspects of the law, for which voting results per MEP were available. Score cards have also been produced for specific EU member states, showing voting results by national party: in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

These are the results:

Using pesticides as a last resort

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a set of tools designed to reduce the use of pesticides by placing preventative agronomic measures at the heart of pest control, with pesticides used only as a very last resort. Although IPM is already mandatory through the current Directive (the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive) it has not been properly implemented by Member States. The new pesticide regulation aimed to further define and concretize crop-specific IPM rules, ensuring IPM is effectively applied. The following graph shows which percentage of the political groups supported - or not - these mandatory rules.

 Protecting nature areas and public spaces

The proposed new law would ban the use of pesticides in sensitive areas such as nature protected areas, public areas, parks and playgrounds. This measure aimed to better protect citizens, especially vulnerable groups, and our ecosystems. The following graph illustrates which percentage of the political groups supported this essential protection.

 

Protecting water sources

Pesticide pollution in water poses severe risks to public health and ecosystems, and incurs significant costs for society. The graph below shows which percentage of political groups voted in favor of measures to better protect water sources from pesticide contamination.

Making supermarkets also responsible for pesticides reduction

The responsibility of reducing pesticide use should be shared across the food supply chain, such as the food industry and supermarkets - certainly not on farmers alone. The following graph illustrates which percentage of political groups supported holding wholesalers, food producers and supermarkets also accountable for reducing pesticide use.

 

Providing yearly independent advice for farmers

In the last decades, publicly funded advisory systems for farmers have largely been replaced by private services linked to pesticide corporations, raising concerns about conflicts of interest. Regular independent advice is crucial to help break free from the pesticide industry’s grip and support farmers in adopting alternative practices. The following graph shows which percentages of MEPs were in support of farmers receiving at least once a year independent advice, instead of every three years.

Raising the ambition for the reduction of the most harmful pesticides

The graph below shows which MEPs voted against an amendment to set a higher reduction target for the most harmful pesticides, to 65% by 2030 instead of 50%. For these highly toxic pesticides, a 50% reduction is far from ambitious enough to protect citizens, farmers and nature, and a full phase out is necessary.

Conclusion

On all topics, the large majority or all of the christian-democratic EPP group, the conservative (to far-right) ECR and the far-right ID group voted consistently against the interests of people. These groups do not even support farmers getting regular independent advice on pesticides, or a higher reduction of the most harmful ones! Undermining urgently needed measures to reduce pesticide use harms the well-being of citizens, the health of our ecosystems and a long term perspective for farmers. As citizens across Europe head to the EU elections polls for, voters should be aware of how political groups (mis)represented their interests when given the opportunity.

Voters from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Spain also have the possibility to check out how MEPs from their national parties voted.

Voters from all EU countries can also check how individual MEPs voted in an overview table.

AND DON'T FORGET THE BEES!

You can also check the voting records of MEPs in relation to the vital issue of bee protection: to choose the country click here, then you can check on that country's individual MEPs..

The record has been compiled by Bee Life Europe with these intentions: "As European citizens prepare to exercise their democratic rights at the polls (6-9 June 2024), it is crucial to recognise the significant role this election plays in shaping the future of environmental protection and the survival of bees. Our investigation into the voting patterns of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on bee-related matters has led to the creation of a practical tool to empower citizens to cast a bee-friendly vote, knowing that their choice can make a real difference.

This website analyses the voting records of MEPs on policies relevant to bees, pollinators, and beekeeping based on their behaviour over the last five years of the legislature. It shows how coherent they have been in protecting bees, the planet, and EU farming. In this 2024 elections, vote informed.

The newly developed tool is designed to simplify your understanding of MEPs' stance on bee issues. Based on their voting records, it assigns a score from 0 to 100 (0 being the most detrimental to bees and 100 the most beneficial). You can easily search for individual MEPs, explore voting trends by country, and even track the voting patterns of political groups at the European Parliament.

 
 
 
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