Yet another EU report on fewer chemicals in agriculture

The European Commission will soon be carrying out additional research into the possible consequences of reducing the use of chemicals in agriculture and horticulture.

This was announced last week after the European Commission, the Agriculture Committee and the Environment Committee had agreed on the further parliamentary treatment of the pesticides proposal.

 With the additional reporting, Brussels meets the previously expressed wishes of several EU countries. They felt that the previously published 'consequence study' was not sufficient.

The Commission now has, among other things, a better picture of the world food situation as a possible consequence of the war in Ukraine and of global warming. Vice-President Maros Sefcovic has informed the Swedish presidency that this addition will be ready this spring. 

Sefcovic, in charge of inter-institutional relations within the EU, does warn against too high expectations. The Commission cannot have data and figures examined and analyzed which do not exist. It is also not possible to break down per country what the possible effect might be in ten years' time. In addition, the Commission reiterates that more than sufficient research has already been carried out, according to existing EU procedures and rules.

The supplementary report by Commissioners Timmermans, Sinkevicius and Kyriakides will be ready this spring. Several EU countries, including the Netherlands, only wanted to participate in such an additional study if it did not lead to delays. Other EU countries and Europoliticians wanted a postponement, preferably until after the European elections of 2024, so that the entire proposal might still fall.

Attempts by the Agriculture Committee to block the treatment led to an intervention by Parliament Speaker Roberta Metsola and the committee chairmen at the beginning of this month. It has now been agreed that the AGRI Agriculture Committee will take a final position in July on the final parliamentary advice as drawn up by Environmental Rapporteur Sarah Wiener (Greens).

The ENVI Environment Committee then responds in September, after which the full European Parliament votes on it in the first week of October.

In May, the Agriculture Committee will discuss the Commission's proposal for nature conservation and restoration, which was presented last May together with the proposal to phase out pesticide use. Climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans will participate in that discussion.