EU Commission to Proceed With Plan to Better Protect Bees

With EU Member States having failed to reach a qualified majority – either in favour or against – a Commission proposal to restrict the use of three neonicotinoid insecticides, will apply from 1 December 2013. The proposed restrictions are designed to ensure that bees, which are so vital to the ecosystem and contribute over €22 billion annually to European agriculture, are protected.

Tonio Borg, Health and Consumer Commissioner, says: “Although a majority of Member States now supports our proposal, the necessary qualified majority was not reached. The decision now lies with the Commission. Since our proposal is based on a number of risks to bee health identified by the European Food Safety Authority, the Commission will go ahead with its text in the coming weeks.”

The proposal restricts the use of three neonicotinoids (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam) for seed treatment, soil application (granules) and foliar treatment on bee attractive plants and cereals. In addition, the remaining authorised uses are available only to professionals.

Exceptions will be limited to the possibility to treat bee-attractive crops in greenhouses, in open-air fields only after flowering.

As soon as new information is available, and at the latest within two years, the Commission will review the conditions of approval of the 3 neonicotinoids to take into account relevant scientific and technical developments.

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