Both the European Parliament and the 27 EU countries are each trying to agree on reducing the use and risks of chemicals in agriculture. The European Commissioners presented their SUR pesticide proposal on this subject last year, as part of the food strategy from farm to fork.
As Parliament votes on its final position next week, under time pressure from the impending EU elections, tensions are high behind the scenes. In fact, the traditional contradiction between the envi-environment committee and the agri-agriculture committee also occurs in this proposal.
The European Commission has already weakened the proposal last year under pressure from several EU countries, but there are still at least a dozen countries that do not want to hear about a chemicals ban. The Netherlands and several other major agricultural countries believe that use should be significantly reduced, as they will emphasize again on Monday in their monthly meeting in Brussels.
There is also a threat this week in the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg of a repeat of the recent voting fuss, such as with the nature restoration law, in which the groups reject almost any compromise and want to include their own positions in the new law through amendments.
Although the Agriculture Section is not the lead committee for the new pesticide rules, it does share jurisdiction over some parts of the dossier with the Environment Committee.
Important points of contention include the effective date: the European Commission and the environmental side argue for 2030, but many EU countries and agricultural groups want that five years later. Moreover, it is still controversial whether each country will have its own mandatory reduction target, or whether there will only be an obligation at EU level, whereby EU countries each have an 'effort obligation' to cooperate. According to critics, this undermines the intended effect of the new law in advance.
It is reported that the current EU presidency (=Spain) plans to submit a new weakening to the LNV ministers on Monday, which would mean that the target per country will be abolished. This complicates the legislative process even further because the Environment Ministers do not (yet?) think so. The Environment Ministers will determine the position of the EU countries in mid-December.
And if the EU countries reach an agreement among themselves and if the European Parliament takes a position, the question remains whether both legislative bodies will subsequently agree with the European Commissioners on a final compromise. If this does not work out in the coming months, the SUR pesticide proposal is in danger of being passed on to the new European Commission, sometime in 2025...