The European Commission has officially passed regulations to completely ban all outdoor use of three neonicotinoids (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) for the 28 countries of the EU. The pesticide ban, which has legally been registered since May 29, will ensure vastly improved protection for bees, pollinators and the wider environment.
The new regulations can be consulted and retrieved from the official website of the EU Commission. They are available in all the 28 languages of the EU; you can find the documents here. The neonicotinoid ban comes into effect on December 19th 2018.
The ban came in response to an European-wide concern that neonicotinoid insecticides harm bees and have been the primary factor in death of millions of bee-colonies since 1994. This legal victory represents a major step towards the protection of bees and pollinators; it is part of our ongoing work to ensure a richer and more biologically diverse environment.
The European-wide ban on neonicotinoids aims to protect wild-bees, as well as honeybees and other pollinating insects. It is a crucial step along the road to a richer biodiversity for the 28 countries of the EU.
Currently, the only concern for beekeepers, researchers and environmental activists in Europe, is whether the implementation of the ban will be made effective. Many of them are concerned about the ongoing 'emergency authorisations’ to use neonicotinoids, that have been granted since the first restrictions were approved in December 2013.
Countries like: Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary and Italy have all issued 'emergency authorisations' to use neonicotinoids, even after the 2013 restrictions came into force. Romania has now granted 'emergency authorisations’ for farmers to continue to use neonicotinoids for the fifth consecutive year since the ban; the case is being studied by the European Food Safety Authority, but any legal decision from EFSA will come too late, as the insecticide will already have been used across Romania's farm landscapes.
Nevertheless, this Europe-wide progress is welcomed by beekeepers, who point out the inherent biological, environmental and cultural value that bees and other pollinators have, as well as their key role in all ecosystems.
With this major victory, European institutions and citizens send an important message to the rest of the world: namely, that the protection of our ecosystems and the web of life is absolutely vital; it is always worth the struggle. since conditions can always be improved, no matter how bad the situation may seem.