Fabian Demicoli

EU to ban ‘bee-harming’ pesticides

The international press reports
that the EU is to restrict the use of three pesticides for up to two years amid
fears they cause serious harm to bees. Divided EU governments failed to come to a
clear decision at a meeting yesterday, leaving it up to the European commission
to take action, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It says the move comes after scientists
suggested that neonicotinoid pesticides, which are widely used in the EU, pose
a "high acute risk" to bees.

The Telegraph points out that Brussels
"overruled British opposition" to the ban and claims the new rules
subject farmers to tight restrictions.

According to the paper, the ban could cost
Europe's farmers more than €2bn and lead to 20 per cent losses of key crop

Health and consumer commissioner Tonio Borg is
quoted as saying, "Since our proposal is based on a number of risks to bee
health, the commission will go ahead in the coming weeks.

He added, "I pledge to do my utmost to
ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over
€22bn annually to European agriculture, are protected."

The Guardian says that the suspension is a
landmark victory for environmental campaigners and represents a serious setback
for chemical producers who are set to lose billions yearly.

A statement from Syngenta, which makes one of
the three neonicotinoids, said, "The proposal ignores a wealth of evidence
from the field that these pesticides do not damage the health of bees."

The company called on the commission to focus
on addressing "the real reasons for bee health decline: disease, viruses
and loss of habitat".

The FT reports that the ban, believed to be the
first continent-wide moratorium on neonicotinoids, will take effect from 1
December unless any new scientific evidence emerges.

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