Forty four percent (43.9%) of all European food was tested positive for pesticide residues according to the 2015 pesticide residues report of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), published yesterday (12 April). And this number is increasing comparing to previous years (see Figures). Whether we like it or not, pesticides have become one of the main ingredients of our food in Europe.
This year, once again, EFSA proudly announced that 97.2 % of European food tested, was within the limits permitted in EU legislation and jumped to the conclusion that the health risk to consumers remains low. PAN Europe considers this conclusion based on theoretical models a deception for the European people especially since 28 % of the food was, in fact, tested positive for multiple pesticide residues – the famous pesticide cocktails - the safety of which has never been evaluated.
Moreover, individual fruit and vegetables may contain much higher amounts, as it is the case of grapes (p.37), where pesticides were detected in 77.3 % of the samples, whereas 58.3 % contained multiple residues. Up to 19 pesticides were detected in a single sample from Turkey, a number that is common in food produced in Europe as well.
PAN Europe has repeatedly stressed out to regulators to consider in their food safety evaluation the fact that pesticides often do not occur individually in our food but in combination, and their combined effects may be additive or magnified compared to the effects observed following exposure to each pesticide alone. If pesticide cocktails are taken into account, the permitted limits will be proven not safe at all, which will reveal that the health risk for humans is not that ‘low’ as EFSA likes to claim. This will confirm that the present model of poison-based agriculture is, in fact, highly problematic.
“It’s insane that pesticide-contaminated food has become the norm” adds Angeliki Lysimachou, the environmental toxicologists of PAN Europe. “The safety of these chemicals is based on theoretical and often completely biased models. With all the diseases manifesting following chronic exposure to chemicals, regulators must act responsibly and put an end to these daily pesticide exposures. If not for the sake of ourselves, then for the sake of our children.”
Hans Muilerman, PAN-Europe’s chemical officer emphasizes: ‘When we look at the way EFSA communicates these figures year after year, it gives the impression that their role is to ensure a feeling of protection for European consumers rather than to effectively protect EU citizen’s health. 10 years ago, the EFSA was requested to assess the risk of exposure to multiple residues of pesticides. Nothing has been implemented up to now, despite the evidence that the current method is not safe.’
In 2015 the percentage of vegetables and fruit in European shops without detectable pesticide residues went down again considerable to 53,3% as was the case in 2013, close to the all-time low in 2007.
Italian MEP Vincenzo Sofo joins the ECR Group
The European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament has decided to take on Italian MEP Vincenzo Sofo as a new member.
Mr Sofo was elected to the European Parliament in 2019. He was one of the three Italian candidates suspended pending the exit of the British Members. On February 1st 2020, Mr Sofo officially took his European Parliament seat. The ECR Group now holds 63 seats in the European Parliament.
After the meeting, ECR Co-Chairman Raffaele Fitto said: “I’d like to welcome Mr Sofo to our Group. He is a trained and competent colleague who has made a political choice consistent with his political path. We are sure that Mr Sofo MEP will be able to make a decisive contribution to the work of our Group, and to our alternative vision of the future of Europe, that is, a community of homelands and nations that cooperate in respect of our different identities and peculiarities.”
ECR Co-Chairman Ryszard Legutko said: “The decision of Mr Sofo shows that our political project, together with the strength of our ideas and our values, is credible and attractive, and from today even stronger and more able to give concrete answers to our citizens in terms of well-being, wealth and security.”
Following the decision, Sofo said: “The European Union is going through one of the most difficult periods in its history, not only from an economic point of view but also from a social and cultural point of view. Surely, it must be profoundly changed to be preserved. Considering the political forces grouped in the European Conservatives and Reformists, they are the ones most able to carry out this task.
“The Conference on the Future of Europe will be a crucial appointment for our Continent and the work that conservative forces will be able to do to correct the mistakes of the European project will be fundamental to straightening its path by strengthening our Nation states and values that have forged its spirit.”
EU imposes sanctions on Russians linked to Navalny poisoning and detention
The Council today(2 March) decided to impose restrictive measures on four Russian individuals responsible for serious human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and detentions, as well as widespread and systematic repression of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and freedom of opinion and expression in Russia.
Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Igor Krasnov, the Prosecutor-General, Viktor Zolotov, head of the National Guard, and Alexander Kalashnikov, head of the Federal Prison Service have been listed over their roles in the arbitrary arrest, prosecution and sentencing of Alexei Navalny, as well as the repression of peaceful protests in connection with his unlawful treatment.
This is the first time that the EU imposes sanctions in the framework of the new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime which was established on 7 December 2020. The sanctions regime enables the EU to target those responsible for acts such as genocide, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations or abuses such as torture, slavery, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests or detentions.
The restrictive measures that entered into force today in follow up to discussions by the Foreign Affairs Council on 22 February 2021 consist of a travel ban and asset freeze. In addition, persons and entities in the EU are forbidden from making funds available to those listed, either directly or indirectly.
- Official Journal of the EU: Council Decision and Implementing Regulation concerning restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses (including list of sanctioned individuals)
- Foreign Affairs Council, 22 February 2021
- Russia: Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the arrest of Alexei Navalny upon his return, 18 January 2021
- EU adopts a global human rights sanctions regime, 7 December 2020 press release
Nine EU-supported films compete in the 2021 Berlin International Film Festival
The 71st Berlin International Film Festival began on 1 March, this year in its digital edition due to the coronavirus pandemicnine EU-supported films and series, three of which are competing for the highest prize, the Golden Bear: Memory Box by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Nebenan (Next Door) by Daniel Brühl, and Természetes fény (Natural Light) by Dénes Nagy. The EU supported the development and co-production of these nine titles with an investment of over €750 000 that was awarded through the Creative Europe MEDIA programme. Targeted to film professionals and media, the Berlinale film festival is hosting the European Film Market, where the Creative Europe MEDIA programme is active with a virtual stand as well as with the European Film Forum. The Forum that will take place online on 2 March will gather various professionals from the industry to discuss the future perspectives for the audiovisual sector in Europe. The Berlinale will run until 5 March, when the winning films will be announced. The second round of this year's festival, ‘The Summer Special', will take place in June 2021 and will open the films to the public and host the official Award Ceremony. More information is available here.
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