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Why Is Bee Protection A Key Issue For The EU Agriculture..?

The protection of the bee population in Europe against the use of bee-killing pesticides is turning to be a key issue for protecting different ecosystems in many EU areas:

EU to ban bee-killing pesticides – euronews

Europe’s bees are in sharp decline, with up to 50 percent of colonies dying out in some parts in recent winters. Now the EU has voted to ban three pesticides linked to bee deaths. Roger Waite from the EU Commission explained: “The formal decision will take a number of weeks because we have to translate the text, but we have now taken the political decision that this proposal to restrict the use of these active substances from the first of December will enter into force.” Ahead of the vote, protestors, including bee keepers from across Europe, gathered to demonstrate outside the European Commission in Brussels. Beekeeper, Hélène Kufferath, told Euronews: “The damage to the bees is terrible because it’s the neurotransmitter of the bee which is attacked, which means that the bees don’t know how to find their way back to their hives anymore, so they get lost and they die.”

 Bee Protection 1

On the other hand, the EU member-states did not have a common position on the issue, as just 15 countries voted in favor of the ban:

Bee deaths: EU to ban neonicotinoid pesticides

The European Commission will restrict the use of pesticides linked to bee deaths by researchers, despite a split among EU states on the issue. There is great concern across Europe about the collapse of bee populations. Neonicotinoid chemicals in pesticides are believed to harm bees and the European Commission says they should be restricted to crops not attractive to bees and other pollinators. But many farmers and crop experts argue that there is insufficient data. Fifteen countries voted in favour of a ban – not enough to form a qualified majority. According to EU rules the Commission will now have the option to impose a two-year restriction on neonicotinoids – and the UK cannot opt out. The Commission says it wants the moratorium to begin no later than 1 December this year. The UK did not support a ban – it argues that the science behind the proposal is inconclusive. It was among eight countries that voted against, while four abstained.

 It is important to be mentioned that the bees have a contribution of more than 22bn Euros annually to European agriculture:

EU bans pesticides linked to bee decline – FarmersWeekly

The two-year suspension will come into force from 1 December, following a European Commission vote in Brussels (29 April). The decision is a massive blow to farmers who rely on neonicotinoid pesticides to keep their crops, especially oilseed rape, clear of yield-sapping pests. Analysts have estimated a ban would cost the UK economy £630m. Tonio Borg, EU health and consumer commissioner, said he would do his “utmost” to protect bees, which were vital to our ecosystem and contribute more than €22bn (£18m) annually to European agriculture. ”Although a majority of member states now supports our proposal, the necessary qualified majority was not reached,” he added. ”The decision now lies with the commission. Since our proposal is based on a number of risks to bee health identified by the European Food Safety Authority, the commission will go ahead with its text in the coming weeks.”

On its part, the government in UK was opposed to the proposal for protecting the bees at the EU level by arguing that it was not effectively supported by strong scientific evidence:

EU to ban pesticides linked to bee deaths – Telegraph.co.uk

The British Government opposed the ban and argued that European Commission proposals lacked conclusive scientific evidence to back up restrictions that will cost Europe’s farmers up to £1.7 billion and lead to 20 per cent losses of key crop yields. Having a healthy bee population is a top priority for us but we did not support the proposal for a ban because our scientific evidence doesn’t support it,” said Lord de Mauley, the environment minister. ”We will now work with farmers to cope with the consequences as a ban will carry significant costs for them.” Following an inconclusive vote in an EU technical committee on Monday, without a clear “qualified” majority for or against, the European Commission has said it will overrule opposition to impose a ban. During the vote 15 EU countries, including Germany supported the ban, while eight member states led by Britain voted against and four abstained. ”Although a majority of member states now supports our proposal, the necessary qualified majority was not reached. The decision now lies with the Commission,” said Tonio Borg, the EU’s health and consumer commissioner.

Finally, it is becoming clear that a cost-benefit analysis of the problem (bees offer €22bn to the EU ecosystem, against a loss of £1.7 billion to key crop yields) leads to the central conclusion that the EU Commission has to take a responsible decision and protect bee population in Europe.

 



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