EU ‘stopped working to protect bees and pollinators’, report finds

Sallie Anderson

Secret EU policies meant to protect and stop the decline of pollinators throughout the bloc have actually been mostly ineffective, according to a new report of the European Court of Auditors on Thursday (9 July).

The commission approximates that almost EUR15 bn of EU yearly farming output is associated to pollinators such as bees, wasps, butterflies, moths and beetles.

Nevertheless, their number has actually been succumbing to years – primarily due to extensive farming and making use of pesticides.

The information readily available for both bees and butterflies show that one-out-of-ten types is at threat of termination in Europe.

“Pollinators play an essential role in plant reproduction and ecosystem functions, and their decline should be seen as a major threat to our environment, agriculture and quality food supply,” stated Samo Jereb, member of the auditor’s team in charge of thereport


“The EU initiatives taken so far to protect wild pollinators have unfortunately been too weak to bear fruit,” headded


The auditors stressed that the 2018 Pollinators Initiative has actually not led to any significant changes in crucial policies due to the fact that it did not set up a legal framework or particular funds for the security of pollinators.

In Addition, the report suggests that just 22 of the 5,065 tasks moneyed with the EU’s instrument for the environment and environment action (LIFE) in the duration 1992-2018 was focused on particularly taking on the decline of pollinators.

On The Other Hand, the Luxembourg-based auditors think about that the Typical Farming Policy (CAP) becomes part of the problem.

According to Martin Dermine, environment policy officer at Brussels-based NGO PAN Europe, Thursday’s report verifies “the schizophrenic attitude” currently shown by the commission on this concern.

“On the one hand, millions of euros are spent to support farmers in planting flower strips or replant hedges along their fields to help restore biodiversity; on the other, billions are spent in the CAP to support intensive agriculture – which is the main cause of the massive decline in bee populations,” stated Dermine.

The association BeeLife stated in a declaration that the CAP, which is currently under reform, can be in a different way formed so that European farming can both protect and take advantage of pollinators.

EU pesticide legislation’s legal spaces

EU auditors likewise concluded that the pesticides legislation currently in location consists of “risk assessments based on guidance which is outdated and poorly aligned with legal requirements and the latest scientific knowledge”.

As a result, member states continue giving emergency situation authorisations for prohibited pesticides which are damaging to pollinators – and people.

In Between 2013 and 2019, member states approved some 206 emergency situation authorisations for making use of 3 neonicotinoids – imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin – despite the fact that their application was limited in 2013 and prohibited for outside usage in 2018.

In 2018, the commission had to demand Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania and Romania to stop giving authorisations for these 3 neonicotinoids.

And previously this year, the EU executive lawfully required Lithuania and Romania to stop giving authorisation for usages where there are readily available options.

In its Farm to Fork technique, the commission goals to cut making use of chemical pesticides by 50 percent and to minimize fertilisers by 20 percent by 2030.

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