About ninety organizations from seventeen European countries argue in favor of phasing out the use of synthetic plant protection products. The organizations are calling for the use of pesticides to be reduced by half by 2025. An 80 percent reduction is to be achieved by 2030 and a full elimination of pesticides by 2035.
The organizations also demand more action to promote organic and sustainable agriculture. The organizations are committed to a European citizens' initiative. They hope to have collected enough signatures in the fall of 2020 to put it on the agenda of European politicians.
The European Citizens' Initiative includes a call to the European Commission to submit various legislative proposals. It concerns a group of social associations that are committed to the environment, health, agriculture and beekeeping, including Friends of the Earth Europe and the Pesticide Action Network.
With their proposal for a phased, phased-in ban on the use of pesticides, organizations are departing from much-heard pleas in the European Parliament for a much faster and more complete ban. This has so far clashed with some agricultural EU countries that are not very keen on restrictions on agriculture.
This issue is expected to be high on the political agenda in the EU early next year, as the multiannual budget also requires a decision on whether or not to reduce agricultural subsidies and the development of a new European common agricultural policy .
According to the European Citizens' Initiative, farmers in Europe are under severe pressure from all kinds of developments, such as low prices, the lack of political support and economies of scale. Some 4 million small farms disappeared in the EU between 2005 and 2016.
Furthermore, nature, different animal species and ecosystems are under pressure. For the EB this is reason to call on the European Commission to come up with EU-wide laws. For example, the use of chemical pesticides should be halved in five years, reduced by three-quarters in ten years and completely eliminated in fifteen years.
The European working group emphasizes that farmers must be supported to make this transition to a collective organic method. To realize this, 90 organizations from 17 European countries join forces. In this way, the EB wants to collect one million signatures within one year, so that the EC and the European Parliament must put the initiative on the agenda.
If it is up to the EB, the EU will give priority to small-scale, diverse and sustainable farms. Ecological and organic agriculture must also be supported. Finally, the EB hopes that independent training can be offered in the field of pesticide and GMO-free agriculture.