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Pesticide Action Network Europe urges further action from Commission




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pesticide-spray-besemerPesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) sent another letter to Commissioner Borg on 27 March, questioning how seriously member states have implemented the Directive on Sustainable Use of Pesticides, and encouraging the European Commission to take further action.
PAN Europe has undertaken an analysis of all the National Action Plans (NAPs) that member states have developed to comply with Directive 2009/128/EC of 21 October 2009 on Sustainable Use of Pesticides.
PAN Europe states that its analysis shows member states’ ambition to reduce pesticides use is extremely low. Problems include:
  • Lacking quantitative objectives, targets, and clear timetables for pesticide use reductions;
  • recycling what is already mandatory from other EU policies (Maximum Residue Levels of pesticides to be respected in water; maximum residue levels in food to be respected), without proposing new actions, and a few member states (Cyprus and Germany) even setting targets that are lower than the already fixed EU limits under environmental and public health laws, and;
  • indicators to help measuring use reductions or conversion towards more use of non-chemical techniques are replaced by ‘soft’ targets (number of training hours, number of guidelines developed, number of certificates issued) unable to measure the effective change.
While there does seem to be a shift towards increased use of non-chemical techniques in public areas (especially parks, sport areas, highly populated areas, sidewalks), the agricultural sector is seriously lacking ambition. This is an extremely disappointing finding, among others, considering that the EU spends more than €60 billion each year on the Common Agricultural Policy, and part of that is indirectly used to buy pesticides.
In its letter to Commissioner Borg, responsible for health and consumers, PAN Europe has indicated a number of actions that it believes the European Commission must take to ensure that member states finally start taking the issue seriously.

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