Today the plenary of the EU parliament voted on a report drafted by S&D MEP Jytte Guteland, which calls on EU member states to be more proactive in setting goals for a short and long-term reduction in pesticide use. These should include clearly defined annual reduction targets.
In 2009, the EU adopted a directive aimed at achieving a sustainable use of pesticides that would reduce their risks and the impacts of pesticide use on human health and the environment. However, there is concern over the poor implementation of the directive in the majority of member states. More needs to be done if the EU wants to achieve the goal set by the Seventh Environment Action Programme (7th EAP): that by 2020 the use of plant protection products should not have any harmful effects on human health or unacceptable influence on the environment.
Jytte Guteland MEP said:
“We have fought for strong protections on the use of pesticides in Europe, to reduce the risks and impacts on human health and the environment. We have supported the use of alternative approaches or techniques, such as natural pesticides, wherever possible.
“Unfortunately, national governments have not done enough to ensure these rules are followed and alternative measures are used. Member states must come forward with clearer plans and targets to show how they will implement these rules and protect human health and the environment as soon as possible.”
The S&D spokesperson on health and the environment, Miriam Dalli MEP, said:
“This Parliament is deeply concerned about the poor implementation of the provisions of this directive in a number of member states. The Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive provides for a range of actions that can help Europe achieve a sustainable use of pesticides. The current dependence on pesticides is completely incompatible with sustainable agriculture.
“Moreover, on average, the use of pesticides has not decreased in recent years.
“The EU must tackle these issues. Member states must push for more sustainable agriculture that favours prevention, non-chemical methods, biological controls and low-risk products.”