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European Parliament votes to strengthen bee protection

There has been an alarming drop in bee populations in recent years.

There has been an alarming drop in bee populations in recent years (PA)
There has been an alarming drop in bee populations in recent years (PA)

By Samual Petrequin, Associated Press Reporter

The European Parliament has blocked a diluted proposal by the bloc’s executive arm on protecting bees from pesticides, arguing it does not go far enough.

European politicians adopted a resolution urging the European Commission to “table new legislation based on the latest scientific and technical knowledge”.

They said the Commission weakened its initial proposal due to the opposition of 16 member states which did not want provisions in the draft on how pesticides should be tested to protect bees from chronic exposure.

European politicians said the Commission only kept provisions protecting bees from acute exposure.

The Commission’s draft, they said, “remains silent on chronic toxicity to honeybees, as well as on toxicity to bumblebees and solitary bees”.

In their resolution, adopted by 533 votes to 67 with 100 abstentions, they noted that the Commission’s text “would not change the level of protection” already in place and asked the Commission to come up with new proposals.

Over recent years, there has been an alarming drop in bee populations, which has stoked fears of an ensuing impact on crop production given the central role of bees.

According to figures released by the European Parliament, about 84% of crop species and 78% of wild flowers across the EU depend to some extent on animal pollination.

Last year, the EU banned three prevalent neonicotinoid pesticides on all crops grown outdoors after scientific evidence showed their risks.

Greenpeace praised the vote against the Commission’s proposal.

“The new Parliament has shown that it’s serious about protecting Europe’s threatened pollinators,” said Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg.



From Belfast Telegraph