Promoters of the European citizens' initiative 'Save the bees and farmers' (Save the Bees and Farmers) on 25.11.22 met the representatives of the European Commission. (1)
Vice-President Jourová and Commissioner Kyriakides received requests from the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) which has collected over one million signatures to ban synthetic pesticides. (2)
'Save the bees' requests to the European Commission
the message delivered to representatives of the European Commission came loud and clear: we want to end the war against nature, they have declared the promoters of 'Let's save the bees'.
'To restore biodiversity and protect citizens' health, the use of synthetic pesticides must be greatly reduced by 2030 and completely eliminated by 2035.
EU should support farmers to achieve these goals'.
The meeting it came at an important time when the European Commission's legislative proposal is under heavy attack from the agro-industry and some EU Member States in the Council of the EU.
Helmut Burtscher-Schaden, a representative of this ECI's Citizens' Committee, said: 'Fifteen years ago the Commission proposed legislation to reduce the risk and dependence on pesticides, to protect ecologically sensitive areas and to replace the most dangerous pesticides with less dangerous ones.
The Member States and the Parliament they agreed on these targets in 2009 when they adopted the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive and Regulation 1107/2009, but Member States have subsequently failed to comply with the laws they had agreed to. In this context we see it as a fatal signal in terms of democratic politics if some Member States are now trying to torpedo the SUR, trying to delay it or – as already speculated in the newspapers – trying to kill the dossier'.
Voice to European citizens and not to lobby
The citizens they ask for a say in this discussion about our health and our environment.
Martin Dermine, main representative: 'This debate can no longer be dominated by the chemical industry and its allies lobbying for industrial agriculture.
There can be no agriculture and food security without healthy soils, clean water and biodiversity.
Industrial chemical agriculture is on a dead end street'.
Damage to bees and organic farms
Constantine Dobrescu, Romanian beekeeper Romapis, member of the citizens' committee, explains 'Every year, thousands of Romanian beekeepers face serious losses of bees under circumstances clearly related to the use of pesticides. The situation is getting worse every year and is linked to the increasingly industrial agriculture practiced in my country.'
Annemarie Gluderer (individual member of the city committee) testifies to the serious damage caused by pesticides to organic agriculture. 'Our organic farm is surrounded by heavily sprayed land due to the intensive apple production. Pesticides have entered our property, our organic crops were contaminated and could no longer be sold as organic products.
We had to take many protective measures to avoid being poisoned. And we, the injured, we are accused, threatened with closure, hated and excluded. For us, there is only one solution: a pesticide ban here and now! I ask! For our organic farm, as a mother and grandmother for a future for our grandchildren'.
Cancer and infertility due to pesticides
Synthetic pesticides they have already poisoned two-thirds of the planet, even entering the bedrooms of citizens, as demonstrated by asurvey promoted by Save the bees.
Doctor Polyxeni Nicolopoulo, Member of the Citizens' Committee of Greece, Environmental Pathologist, University of Athens, stressed the importance of eliminating pesticides for our health.
'We see many tumors and infertility at a younger age, related to exposure to pesticides that interfere with our hormonal system.
In utero exposure to pesticides can lead to male infertility and cancer at an early age. Bees are sentinels for human health.
Martin Dermine, ICE's chief representative concludes: 'We are over 1 million EU citizens on their way to a toxic-free world. We support the restoration of nature, healthy food, healthy soil and clean water, flowers in the fields and biodiversity everywhere in our environment'.
The requests of Let's save the bees
Formal requests of the Save Bees and Farmers initiative are:
1 – a phase-out of the use of synthetic pesticides in EU agriculture: -80% by 2030 and total elimination by 2035,
2 – measures for biodiversity recovery: habitats must be restored and agricultural areas must become a vector for biodiversity recovery,
3 – support to farmers in the necessary transition to agroecology. Small, diversified and sustainable farms must be promoted, organic agriculture expanded and research into pesticide-free and GMO-free agriculture supported.
The initiative of citizens is officially validated and the European Commission will have to give a formal response. An official hearing in the European Parliament will follow in January.
Footnotes to the story
(1) The delegation visiting the EU Commission:
Dr Polyxeni Nicolopoulo (Greece, doctor, individual member of the city committee), Annemarie Gluderer (South Tyrol, Italy, organic farmer, individual member of the city committee), Constantin Dobrescu (Romania, beekeeper, Romapis and BeeLife), Dr Helmut Burtscher (Austria , scientist, Global2000), Johann Lutke-Schwienhorst (Germany, Aurelia Stiftung), Corinna Hoelzel (Germany, BUND), Veronika Feicht (Germany, Umweltinstitut München), Karl Baer (Germany, former principal representative of the citizens' committee, now member of the Bundestag), Madeleine Coste (Slow Food EU), Clara Bourgin (France, Friends of the Earth Europe), Luís Morago (Spain, Avaaz), Natalija Svrtan (Croatia, PAN Europe), Tjerk Dalhuisen (Netherlands, PAN Europe) and Dr Martin Dermine (Belgium, PAN Europe).
(2) Martha Strinati. The ICE Save Bees has collected over a million signatures. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 9.10.21.
Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".