Wiener: EU citizens’ front calls for reduction in pesticides | Green Club in Parliament, 01/24/2023

Wiener: EU citizens’ front calls for reduction in pesticides |  Green Club in Parliament, 01/24/2023

Initiative against field poisons received 1.1 million signatures. Civil society must be heard and taken seriously, appeals to Sarah Wiener.

Brussels (OTS) Together for sustainable agriculture: The initiative “Save bees and farmers” has collected more than 1.1 million signatures. Now the responsible NGOs presented their demands to the MEPs and the Commission. At the public hearing with the Agriculture, Environment and Petitions Committees today, the end of synthetic pesticides and the protection of biodiversity were discussed.

Sarah Wiener, Green MEP and rapporteur on the new EU Pesticides Regulation (SUR)commented: A public hearing in Parliament is not an everyday occurrence. Only a handful of citizens’ initiatives have so far collected enough votes for it. This shows that reducing the use of dangerous pesticides is important to civil society. No wonder, the topic concerns us all. Pesticides are found not only in soil, water and air, but also in house dust. The Dutch researcher Violette Geissen presented a study today that shows that up to 85 different pesticides can be detected in our house dust across Europe. A good proportion of these toxins are either likely to be carcinogenic or impair fertility. It’s about the health of the people, the farmers, but also about that of our environment.

EU citizens have gathered under the slogan “Save bees and farmers”, but the initiative also has a strong tailwind from science. Before Christmas, more than 700 scientists emphasized in a letter that there was no way around reducing the use of pesticides.

Wiener: “In today’s hearing, counter-arguments were cleared up. For example, that reducing the use of pesticides endangers food security in the EU. Not a single serious scientist would take that into account, says agricultural professor Jeroen Candel very clearly today. We must not simply push this consensus aside.”

Also attending the hearing was French farmer Jean-Bernard Lozier, who showed how he reduced the use of pesticides on his arable farm by 80% – without sacrificing yield. Agroecology plays a major role in this transformation, as agronomist Alain Peeters pointed out. A holistic system in harmony with nature not only increases biodiversity, but also the profitability of the farms.

Wiener: “This afternoon was a clear assignment to politicians. Civil society, science, but also farmers are calling on us to consistently reduce the use of pesticides. To do this, the next step is to press ahead with negotiations on the new EU Pesticides Regulation (SUR). One thing is already clear: relying on new genetic engineering or other technofixes, such as those proposed by the Commission today, will not help us. Only an actual reduction brings us closer to a sustainable turnaround in agriculture, to more security and independence for farmers.”

Questions & contact:

Ludmilla Reisinger/Press Officer Sarah Wiener, MEP
+43 660 3213732


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