Food Law News - EU - 2009

EP Press Release, 13 January 2009

PESTICIDES - MEPs approve pesticides legislation

The European Parliament today approved new EU pesticides legislation which will increase the number of pesticides available in Member States, while in due course banning the use of certain dangerous chemicals in these products. Measures to ensure the safer use of pesticides in daily life will also be introduced.

Voting at second reading on the basis of agreements reached with the Council in December, MEPs overwhelmingly approved a regulation on placing plant protection products on the market as well as a directive on the sustainable use of pesticides.

Toxic chemicals will be banned but producers can sell more easily across borders

The key points of the regulation, which deals with the production and licensing of pesticides, are as follows.

Manufacturers and pesticide users will benefit because:

The new legislation will only gradually supersede existing EU law. Pesticides that can be placed on the market under current legislation will remain available until their existing authorisation expires. There will thus be no sudden or large-scale withdrawal of products from the market. The agreement with Council was based on a scientific assessment by the Swedish Chemicals Agency that only around 22 dangerous substances are likely to be removed from the market as a result of the new safety criteria.

Hiltrud Breyer (Greens/EFA, DE), the MEP who steered this legislation through Parliament, said: "This agreement is a win-win situation, not only for the environment, public health and consumer protection but also for the European economy, since it will lead to more innovation, placing the EU at the forefront of this sector".

Reducing pesticide use and managing it better

The main points of the directive on the sustainable use of pesticides are as follows.

The directive must be implemented by the Member States by early 2011. The MEP responsible for its passage through Parliament, Christa Klaß (EPP-ED, DE), said "This directive is step in right direction to protect European consumers and the environment. The aim is to use as few pesticides as possible, but at the right time and in the right dosage." She stressed "Risk management is the key, with training for professional users and adequate information for private users".

Both pieces of legislation must now be endorsed by the Council but this should be a formality in view of the agreement reached in December [See EU News Item: . 18 December 2008 PESTICIDES MEPs and Council reach agreement].

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