Bee-harming pesticides banned in EuropeSubmitted by Jefferson on Thu, 05/02/2013 - 17:25
EU member states vote ushers in continent-wide suspension of neonicotinoid pesticides
Photograph: Michael Kooren/Reuters
Damian Carrington The Guardian, Monday 29 April 2013
Europe will enforce the world's first continent-wide ban on widely used insecticides alleged to cause serious harm to bees, after a European commission vote on Monday.
The suspension is a landmark victory for millions of environmental campaigners, backed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), concerned about a dramatic decline in the bee population. The vote also represents a serious setback for the chemical producers who make billions each year from the products and also UK ministers, who voted against the ban. Both had argued the ban would harm food production.
Although the vote by the 27 EU member states on whether to suspend the insect nerve agents was supported by 15 nations, but did not reach the required majority under voting rules. The hung vote hands the final decision to the European commission, which will implement the ban.
Tonio Borg, health and consumer commissioner, said: "Our proposal is based on a number of risks to bee health identified by the EFSA, [so] the European commission will go ahead with its plan in coming weeks."