Ireland Picking Pesticides over Bees

Europe is stripping away protections for bees and other wild pollinators and Member States will always opt for pesticides over the protection of bees, Irish MEP Mick Wallace has claimed in the European Parliament.

Speaking during a debate with the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority on bee guidance Wallace said the the European Court of Auditors’ July report on the Protection of Wild Pollinators in the EU exposed the European Commission’s failure to provide adequate protection for wild pollinators.

Ireland South MEP, Mick Wallace, said,

“The EU Biodiversity Strategy aims to cut the use of pesticides in half by 2030. And yet, here we are with the Commission and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) teaming up with conservative Member States and the pesticide industry to strip away protections for bees by proposing wider background mortality levels. You couldn’t make it up”

“The EFSA has given Member States on the relevant Standing Committee four options to decide on the future of the Bee Guidance Document. All four options will open the door to watering down the 2013 Bee Guidance Document. It has been reported that Approach number 2 is the preferred option of the majority of Member States. Approach number 2, in particular, should be totally rejected.”

“Approach number 2 uses a flawed method of calculating a natural background colony size. It assumes a recovery period that does not exist with, for example, neonicotinoids. It largely deals with honey bees, ignores solitary bees and only briefly considers bumblebees.”

“If Member States select Approach number 2 they will also be asked to provide input on the selection of the percentile of natural variability, which will determine the percentage of colony size reduction considered as acceptable. So it seems the ministries of agriculture in the Member States will get to decide on the protection level. Given that the majority of Member States rejected the progressive 2013 Bee Guidance Document, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the same Member States will give priority to getting more pesticides approved over the protection of bees.”

“It is difficult to understand why the Commission and EFSA are proposing this metric of percentage background variability in honey bee colony size. The EFSA did not present any evidence that its background variability is natural and not influenced by, for example existing pesticide pollution, biodiversity collapse or other stressors.”

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