Romania is considering granting an emergency authorisation on the use of neonicotinoids - again

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

Yesterday the Romanian Agricultural Ministry has published an official statement, stating that the Romanian Agriculture Minister has informed the European Commissioner for Agriculture that he is considering granting an emergency authorisation on the use of neonicotinoids for sunflower.

This is threatening bees and pollinators and would cause significant loss for beekeepers.


The statement comes after 2 years, as in 2020 and 2021 the ministry was not granting authorisation for the use of neonicotinoids for sunflower and for rapeseed. Although, continued with granting authorisation for maze (since 8 years in a row).



How can member states still authorise the use of the banned neonicotinoids?


In 2013, on the basis of a risk assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (“EFSA”) the European Commission severely restricted the use of plant protection products and treated seeds containing three neonicotinoids (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) (Regulation (EU) No 485/2013).


However, the pesticide and seed industry, farmers and many EU Member States are continuing to use these pesticides. This is through a loophole in the Pesticides Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009) that allows for “emergency authorisations”.

“Emergency authorisations” for banned or non-approved pesticides can only be used in “exceptional circumstances”. The aim of this exception is to allow conventional farmers to make use of non-approved pesticides in emergencies, for example when a newly arrived exotic pest cannot be controlled by other means. The special circumstances must be unforeseen to be eligible for an emergency authorisation. Indeed, the Commission guidance clarifies that an emergency authorisation should not be granted as a routine alternative to extensions of use.

This mechanism is clearly being abused by some member states.


In 2019 The European Food Safety Authorization (EFSA) come to the conclusion that neonicotinoids has alternatives to be used in rapeseed.

After the continuous pressure from civil society and beekeepers, in the last 2 years Romania did not grant emergency authorisation for sunflower and rapeseed. Now, this progress seems to be under threat.

The “principles of integrated pest management” (“IPM”) set out in the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive, the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Biodiversity Strategy* are all clearly ignored when member states allow derogations year after year, with insufficient documentation to justify.


These derogations on neonicotinoids should no longer be considered emergency actions.


Read our publication, which describes the problem in detail.



*With the Farm to Fork Strategy, the European Commission has announced actions to reduce the overall use and risk of chemical pesticides by 50% and the use of more hazardous pesticides by 50% by 2030.

Another core part of the European Green Deal is the Biodiversity Strategy. It sets out the key target to place at least 25% of agricultural land under organic farming.