Belgium rejects European proposal on stricter requirements for pesticides

The European Commission wanted stricter requirements for the insecticide sulfoxaflor, notorious for its effects on bees and other pollinators. To his shock, the Federal Minister of Agriculture, David Clarenvale, abstained from voting on this file. The result: the European proposal, based on scientific advice, did not make it. Is this then the “ambitious position” that the federal government will adopt under its own coalition agreement to reduce chemicals?

Sulfoxaflor, no friend to bees

Neonicotinoids are active substances used to protect plants from harmful insects by acting on the nervous system. They were developed in the 1990s, but soon proved to be particularly harmful to bees and other pollinators. The European Commission subsequently decided to systematically tighten the prerequisites for some neonicotinoids (in short: neonics). For example, the use of three neon compounds common in open farming was first banned in the European Union, and then banned altogether. To this day, Belgium always asks for exceptions.

Because of the risks associated with neonicotinoids, sulfoxaflor has been put forward as an optimistic successor. Although it is not an official neonicotinoid, the effect and effect of sulfoxaflor appear to be very similar and several studies indicate the high risk of this substance for pollinators.

Therefore, Europe would like to implement more stringent requirements for sulfoxaflor, fully in line with the farm-to-fork biodiversity and biodiversity strategy. We depend heavily on pollinators for our food production, so declining numbers have devastating consequences for citizens, the environment and the economy.

Europe calls for a ban on the outdoors

Before a Member State approves a plant protection product, the active substance must have been approved by the European Union. In addition, Europe can impose preconditions and restrictions on admission that member states must follow.

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The European Commission now wants a ban on outdoor use of sulfoxaflor as a condition. The material should only be used in permanent greenhouses to minimize damage to pollinators.

The European Food Safety Authority, the European Food Safety Authority, has concluded that the use of sulfoxaflor in the field resulted in a high risk to honey bees and bumblebees. In addition, sulfoxaflor is a systemic insecticide, which means that the active component is completely absorbed by the plant and disperses it through the sap stream, which makes the plant toxic to many animals.

Megan Vasquez

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