Von der Leyen yields to farmer’s groups demands to shelve the Sustainable Use of Pesticide Regulation proposal

This week the European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen announced in a concession to farmers, after weeks of protests across Europe, that the Sustainable use of Pesticides Regulation (SUR) will be shelved. The regulation which was first tabled in June 2022 aimed to curb pesticide use by half by 2030.

While this move was not unexpected, it was shocking nevertheless for proponents of stricter rules on pesticides, including IFOAM Organics Europe, because it marks yet another piece of the EU Farm to Fork strategy being scrapped. Notably, it is seen as undermining the hard-won gains made through the EU Green Deal to meet the bloc’s ambitious climate ambitions and protect biodiversity.

The Commission justified the withdrawal of SUR on the grounds that it constitutes “a symbol of polarisation”. The decision comes on the heels of a decision in the European Parliament back in November to reject SUR, and a vote against a proposal to send it back to the parliamentary committee. In expert circles it was already considered dead back then.

A new draft of the legislation is not expected any time soon.

Against this background, currently there is only one solution to actively reduce the use of synthetic pesticides in the EU: to have more organic food on our plates. Buying and eating organically farmed products is an active contribution to reducing the use of pesticides.

Find out more about why organic farming does not use synthetic pesticides.

Find out more about the pesticide load in conventional versus organic food.

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