Press conference: EU pesticide reduction under fierce attack

In June 2022, the EU Commission presented a legislative proposal on the “sustainable use of plant protection products” (SUR), which aims to halve the use and risk of pesticides by 2030 in a legally binding way to tackle the challenges of the looming biodiversity and climate crises.

This reform proposal, which has been warmly welcomed by scientists and environmentalists, is currently under fierce attack: according to a newspaper report, the demand for a “complementary impact assessment” made in September by ten member states (AT, BG, EE, HU, LV, MT, PL, RO, SI, SK) in a non-paper could now have the support of up to 19 member states. If this is true and the member states find a majority in the Council of Agriculture Ministers (AGRIFISH) on 12 and 13 December demanding further impact assessments by the Commission, this could postpone the adoption of this important legislative proposal on pesticide reduction by months or even “kill the file“.

What about biodiversity and what do pesticides have to do with it? Who are blocking pesticide reduction? What is at stake?

On 6 December 2022, IFOAM Organics Europe organised an online press conference where scientists, farmers and the European Citizens’ Initiative “Save Bees and Farmers” explained the urgency and explosiveness around the EU pesticide reduction.

You couldn’t join? You can now watch the recordings on our YouTube channel

Featured speakers:

  • Prof. Dr. Josef Settele, Co-chair of the IPBES
  • Jan Plagge, President of IFOAM Organics Europe
  • Ramona Duminicioiu, Eco Ruralis, Romania
  • Helmut Burtscher-Schaden, ECI “Save Bees and Farmers”, pesticides expert of GLOBAL 2000

After the panel discussion, journalists received individual information on single EU countries in breakout rooms. 

Read the press release we sent after the conference.

Programme

10:00
Welcome,
introduction of the panel,
explanation of the procedure (breakout rooms)

Moderator
Selina Englmayer
10:03
Why has the Organic Movement supported the ECI and welcomed the F2F? (holistic approach, as in organic farming) As organic farmers, who are particularly aware of the importance of ecosystem services for agriculture, we experiencing and deal with the climate- and biodiversity crisis in our daily work;

Jan Plagge
President of IFOAM Organics Europe
10:05
Why not the war in the Ukraine and not the F2F are threatening food security, but the looming biodiversity and climate crisis (perhaps recall the March statement by over 660 scientists on this issue)

Josef Settele, PhD
Co-Chair of IPBES Global Assessment & Head of Dept. of Conservation Biology and Social-Ecological Systems, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Halle, Germany
10:09
Small scale farming vs. big industrial agriculture, distribution of agricultural land, use of pesticides, and how it developed in Romania since EU accession; importance of F2F and SUR

Ramona Duminicioiu
Asociatia Eco Ruralis (Romania)
10:13
Why is the SUR important?
Connection between SUD, ECI and SUR? Failure to implement the 2009 pesticide legislation. Which member states block, what are their arguments?

Helmut Burtscher-Schaden, PhD
(ECI “Save Bees and Farmers”; GLOBAL 2000 - Friends of the Earth Austria)
10:17
Organics Europe (and Save Bees and Farmers?) strongly appeals to all MS to work towards the adoption of an effective SUR, which is an important building block of the F2F strategy

Jan Plagge
President of IFOAM Organics Europe
10:19
Opening (and explaining) the MS breakout rooms to journalists

Moderator
Selina Englmayer
10:20
Briefing of national journalists in their language; starting with a very brief summary of the central messages from the above main speakers and providing additional data related to the respective Member States (to this end, for each MS for which we can set up a separate “breakout room-press briefing” (with the help of a local partner NGO), we will prepare a small fact sheet that includes a paragraph on whether, or to what extent, the MS in question has so far participated in the push to block the SUR, evaluating i) public available Council non papers, ii) non-public information from Council sources or newspapers, iii) response or non-response to our written request).
(Please note: during the breakout room sessions the four main panelists will still be available to journalists for questions)
10:28
Wrap Up; sharing the link to press material, providing journalists with the contact details of the experts, especially of the those that have hosted the breakout rooms.
 
IFoam
I accept I do not accept