Von der Leyen withdraws pesticide law after farmers protests

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced that she will withdraw the proposal to a new law on the sustainable use of pesticideswhose processing in its current form has failed in Parliament and Council, and has promised that will involve more the agricultural sector in writing the next draft.

The law, which set binding targets at national and EU level to reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 50%, as well as the use of the most dangerous pesticides by 2030, had faced opposition from the lobby group European agri-food industry due to fears about its impact on food security.

“The Commission proposed the sustainable use of pesticides legislation with the valuable objective of reducing the risks of chemicals to protect plants. But the proposal has become a symbol of polarization. It has been rejected by Parliament and there is no longer any progress in the Council either. Therefore, I will propose withdrawing the proposal,” Von der Leyen said.

Before the European Parliament, where she attended to report on the latest leaders’ summit last week, Von der Leyen assured that the problem “is still on the table” even without this proposal and opted for “more dialogue and a different approach” to move forward.

Involve farmers in a new proposal

“On this basis, the Commission could make a new, much more mature proposal, with the involvement of the interested parties,” said the president of the Community Executive, who has asked to avoid the “game of accusations” and work together.

“Our farmers will only invest in the future if they can live off their land. And they will only be able to continue living off their land if we achieve our climate and environmental goals together,” Von der Leyen warned.

Brussels wants to take advantage of the framework of the strategic dialogue on the future of agriculture in the EU that began on January 25 to listen to all interested parties before presenting a new proposal, so it is unlikely that it will present the renewed draft anytime soon. term. The current legislature will conclude with elections to the European Parliament between June 6 and 9.

Agriculture will need a “more sustainable production” model

Before the European Parliament, the German has stressed that “our farmers deserve to be heard”, but also that agriculture will need a “more sustainable production model” to remain profitable, a transition in which the sector must “lead the baton.” “.

“We need to analyze the situation together, share ideas and develop scenarios for the future. We need to move beyond polarized debates and build trust,” said Von der Leyen, who suggested “generous incentives” to farmers to strengthen protection of the natural environment. in the form of public subsidies or ‘premium’ labeling.

Also the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, considered that the duty of the European institutions is to “listen” to farmers who have expressed “anger, anxiety and concern” to see what can be done to respond to their demands.

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“Farmers are key contributors to our food security and also to the climate transition. They deserve respect for the enormous work they do in our interests, and it is important that there is fairness, reducing bureaucracy and applying the same standards to the entire sector,” Michel asked.

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