MEPs vote to ban pesticide use in ecological focus areas
Plant protection products will be banned in EFAs; including strips of eligible hectares along forest edges and areas with catch crops, green cover or nitrogen-fixing crops. The ban will come in to place from Friday 16 June and are to be implemented by Member States.
This is as a result of a vote in the European Parliament this week on simplification for the requirements of greening under EU farm payments.
"The issue of plant protection products was of specific concern to farmers in Austria and in Germany", according to Vice President of the European Parliament, Mairead McGuinness. This is predominantly due to the large areas of protein crops grown in EFAs in these two countries.
McGuinness outlined that the agriculture committee heavily supported the continued use of plant protection products however the parliament narrowly rejected the proposal to continue their use by 13 votes. "The vote does however highlight a deeper environmental commitment to agriculture from the parliament", said McGuinness.
However, EU farm body Copa-Cogeca has said it does not amount to real simplification and will make life more difficult for farmers.
“Farmers and their cooperatives are overburdened by the excessive bureaucracy under the CAP, which stifles innovation,” Copa-Cogeca secretary general Pekka Pesonen said after the vote. “We consequently regret European Parliaments vote today on the Delegated Act. This means that the Commission’s proposed measures will be introduced and these will not amount to a real simplification of current rules. But we hope that member states will implement the decision in the best possible manner to enable farmers and their co-operatives to get on with their work.”