Brussels, 24 May 2013
Bee Health: EU-wide restrictions on Pesticide use to enter into force on 1 December
A restriction on the use of three pesticides belonging to the neonicotinoid family was today adopted by the Commission. These pesticides (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam) were identified as being harmful to Europe’s honeybee population. This restriction will enter into force as from 1 December 2013 and will be reviewed, at the latest, within two years. It targets pesticides used in the treatment of plants and cereals that are attractive to bees and pollinators.
“Last month, I pledged that, based on the number of risks identified by the European Food Safety Authority’s scientific opinion, I would do my utmost to ensure that our honeybee population is protected. Today’s adoption delivers on that pledge and marks another milestone towards ensuring a healthier future for our honeybees, as bees have two important roles to play: not only that of producing honey but primarily to be a pollinator. About 80 % of all pollination is due to the activity of bees - this is natural and free of costs” said Tonio Borg, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy.
Today’s measure forms part of the Commission’s overall strategy1 to tackle the decline of Europe’s bee population. Since the publication of the Commission’s bee health strategy in 2010, several actions have been taken or are underway. These include: the designation of a EU Reference Laboratory for bee health; increased EU co-financing for national apiculture programmes, co-financing to carry out surveillance studies in 17 voluntary Member States (€3.3 million were allocated in 2012) and EU research programmes such as BeeDoc and STEP which look into the multifactorial aspects that could be attributed to Europe’s bee decline.
Member States must withdraw or amend existing authorisations to comply with the EU restrictions by 30 September 2013. They can allow the use of existing stocks until 30 November at the latest. National authorities are responsible for ensuring that the restrictions are correctly applied.
As soon as new information is available, and at the latest within 2 years, the Commission will review this restriction to take into account relevant scientific and technical developments.
Following the absence of an agreement (qualified majority) between Member States during the appeal committee of 29 April 2013, the Commission announced that it will proceed with the restriction as foreseen.
The restriction applies to the use of 3 neonicotinoids (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam) for seed treatment, soil application (granules) and foliar treatment on plants and cereals (with the exception of winter cereals) that are attractive to bees. 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.
Pesticides have been identified as one of several factors which may be responsible for the decline in number of bees. Other factors also include parasites, other pathogens, lack of veterinary medicines or sometimes their misuse, apiculture management and environmental factors such as lack of habitat and feed and climate change.
For more information:
Follow us on Twitter:
Commission Communication on Honeybee Health COM(2010) 714 final