Emergency authorisations of banned neonicotinoids are a great challenge that beekeepers and their bees must face in several countries of the EU. Some states are continuously providing emergency authorisations, thus worsening conditions for their beekeepers and the state of nature. The case of Romania is particularly troubling. BeeLife stands in solidarity with Romanian beekeepers and rejects the actions of the Romanian government. We insist that these derogations should no longer be considered emergency actions. After six years of continuous authorisations, it is time for the Romanian government to take the necessary steps to protect beekeepers and allow safer innovations to reach the fields.
BeeLife has sent a letter to the Romanian minister of agriculture and rural development, asking not to pursue the grant of emergency authorisations for the next season in the field.
Read also The Neonicotinoid Story in Repeat
Find the letter below or download this document.
Louvain la Neuve, 10 December 2019
Dear Minister Nechita-Adrian Oros,
Subject: New emergency authorisations of neonicotinoids in Romania
It came to our attention that your Ministry is considering to provide another emergency authorisation for the use of neonicotinoids in Romania next year. The premise of your action is the claim that neither your research institutions nor your farmers have been able to find an alternative to control Tanymecus Dilatocollis. We are hereby writing you to request you not to give the emergency authorisation, for alternatives exist for the purpose. Our Romanian colleagues describe their despair year after year. You may know that your beekeepers are experiencing exactly the same problems as the French and Italian ones back in the nineties, when the first neonicotinoid pesticides were approved in maize and sunflower. It is sad, that with the amount of knowledge existing today on the risk of these products, you continue allowing these insect massive destruction bombs in your landscape. Your institutions appear to unaware of the strong peer reviewed published and technical evidence, that alternatives in fact do exist. We hope, that the following list will help you realising how rich is the proposal of alternatives:
- Furlan, L. & Kreutzweiser, D. Alternatives to neonicotinoid insecticides for pest control:case studies in agriculture and forestry. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 22, 135–147 (2015).
- Furlan, L. et al. An update of the Worldwide Integrated Assessment (WIA) on systemic insecticides. Part 3: alternatives to systemic insecticides. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 1–23 (2018).
- Jactel, H. et al. Alternatives to neonicotinoids. Environment International 129, 423–429 (2019).
- Lately, the association of maize producers in Iasi experienced an innovative product on the basis of a mix of organisms beneficial to the growth, development and protection of agricultural crops. I hope you can take the conclusions of this study into consideration before granting the emergency authorisation. If you want to access the study, please contact Eng. COSTEL SPRINCENATU, Phone nr: + 4 0741 673 256 - email:firstname.lastname@example.org.
You have been informed by the Commission services that, according to EFSA assessment, some of the past derogations were not scientifically supported (notably for maize). Alternative noninsecticide methods are readily available in Romania. While the EFSA considered that the emergency authorisation for sunflower might have some ground, we would like to remind you that it is counterproductive for farmers to treat sunflower with a pesticide with the profile of neonicotinoids. Sunflower profit from pollination to increase yields. By not considering any alternatives to neonicotinoids, sunflower producers are putting their flower yields in jeopardy because their crops will not receive the necessary pollination.
We would like to bring to your attention the report we published in 2018 on the abuse of the emergency authorisation tools, in which we specifically described the bad habits of your administration. An emergency authorisation granted every year is business as usual. We invite you to read further our work, which we hope you find inspiring: Bee emergency call . Furthermore, the criteria to grant an emergency authorisation are well described by the Commission. According to these criteria your administration needs to demonstrate that:
- a “special circumstance” exists, which is hard to argue after having granted non-stop emergency authorisations year after year.
- there is “a danger which cannot be contained by any other reasonable means”. Is the prevalence of Tanymecus Dilatocollis really an economic problem to farmers? Is this the case, can your services please make public the methodology they use to establish that the level of Tanymecus Dilatocollis poses a danger to the economy of the famers, after they have applied the integrated pest management approach they are obliged to? Besides, provided the literature
available and the field experiences, it is hard to argue that alternatives do not exist. It seems rather that your services are not interested in pushing for the alternatives to be implemented in the field.
- the authorsed will be “limited and controlled” and only for a maximum of 120 days,
- consumers' safety must be guaranteed. We hope that this is the case. Unfortunately, the bees safety is not guaranteed, which is actually the approval criteria described in Article 4 of the pesticide authorisation regulation, and the main reason why neonicotinoids were banned for open-air uses.
For all these reasons, we urge you Mr Oros to stop granting emergency authorisations of neonicotinoids on crops cultivated in open fields, and to be part of the group of governments fostering innovation and creativity to take their farming community to the future, rather to stay in the past.
Francesco Panella Walter Haefeker
President of BeeLife President of EPBA
You may also watch related declarations given by representatives of BeeLife and the European Professional Beekeeping Association during this year's European Beekeeping Congress, Beecome, which took place in Romania: