The Netherlands also makes manure and water EU chefsache

The Netherlands calls the withdrawal of the plan to halve the use of chemical pesticides in European agriculture 'a disappointing result'. The LNV ministers of the EU countries are expected to agree to that withdrawal at their regular Agriculture Council in Brussels on Monday (26 February).

The Netherlands has always been in favor of the pesticide proposal of then Green Deal Commissioner Frans Timmermans. The so-called SUR pesticide proposal was one of the major Green Deal proposals he submitted with Food Commissioner Stella Kyriakides and Environment Commissioner Virginius Sinkevicius.

European agricultural umbrella organizations have protested against the proposal from the start, together with the Nature Restoration Act, the tightened Soil Directive, farm-to-table for more biodiversity and other environmental and climate regulations in agriculture.

In recent weeks, EU farmers have organized large demonstrations not only against national tax issues but also against European environmental regulations in their industry. And even against the relaxed export rules for Ukraine. All that criticism will end up on Brussels meeting tables for the rest of the week and next week.

After Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had previously put the contested measures 'on hold' with her new 'strategic dialogue', she announced last week the withdrawal of the already stalled pesticide proposal. This was also interpreted in agricultural circles as a response to the criticism.

Contrary to the complaints of many European farmers, the Euronews news agency has come to the conclusion that most Green Deal proposals have not yet come to fruition. This contradicts what Timmermans said at the end of last year upon his departure from Brussels (to return to Dutch politics), when he said that the broad framework of almost all Green Deal proposals was ready.

According to Euronews' analysis, there were initially 28 different proposals (subsequently split into 31), of which two years later, less than half of them had legal texts drawn up and most of which have not yet reached the stage of trilogue agreement between specialist ministers and the European Parliament. reaches.

According to Dutch LNV Minister Piet Adema, the SUR proposal would have contributed to the agricultural transition to more sustainable agriculture and significantly reduced the use of chemical-synthetic crop protection products. The withdrawal means 'that an important legal incentive for the Netherlands and other Member States to reduce substance use at European level is now lost'. 

With regard to the latter, the Netherlands immediately appears to be taking an advance on the (upcoming) European update of the Water Framework Directive and the tightening of the Nitrate Directive against the pollution of drinking and soil water. Due to the failure to reduce water pollution, Germany and the Netherlands have now lost their manure derogation, and Ireland will follow suit later this year. The manure surplus in more and more (dairy) countries is becoming an increasing problem.

In a letter to the Dutch parliament, Minister Adema also points out the need to accelerate the EU approval of environmentally friendly 'green' crop protectors. The Dutch government also repeats its previous proposals to allow the so-called Renure products (obtained from processed animal manure). Even (outgoing) Prime Minister Mark Rutte has now personally raised this with Commission President Von der Leyen. In short: that too becomes 'chefsache'...