Agriculture MEPs vote to veto plans for pesticide-free ecological focus areas
The Commission’s plan to ban the use of plant protection products on some ecological areas was opposed by the Agriculture Committee on Tuesday amid concerns for the EU’s protein production.
The motion for a resolution objecting to the Commission’s delegated act was carried by 30 votes in favour to 11 against, with one abstention.
EU’s protein production under threat
The proposed delegated regulation goes well beyond a pure simplification and would have a fundamental impact on the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy, say MEPs.
They highlight ecological benefits of leguminous plants for soil protection and nitrogen fixation and stress that the ban on the use of plant protection products on ecological focus areas (EFAs) where these plants are grown would threaten a sustainable protein production in Europe, which already heavily depends on protein imports.
Commission under fire
MEPs also criticised the EU executive for bundling 14 different rules in one singe delegated act forcing thus the Parliament to simply accept or refuse the entire package. This leaves no room to express an opinion on each individual empowerment, they say.
The motion for a resolution will now be scrutinised by the full Parliament during its 12-15 June plenary session in Strasbourg. To be approved, it needs to win the support of an absolute majority of all MEPs. The deadline for Parliament’s veto expires on 15 June.
Ecological focus area (EFA) were introduced by the 2013 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy to safeguard and improve biodiversity on farms and bring benefits for the environment. Farmers with more than 15ha of arable land are now in general obliged to have 5% of their farm covered by the EFA, such as fallow land, terraces, landscape features, or buffer strips.
The draft delegated act, tabled by the Commission on 15 February, seeks to inter alia ban the use of plant protection products on some EFAs, including strips of eligible hectares along forest edges and areas with catch crops, green cover or nitrogen-fixing crops.
Tuesday, 30 May 2017
Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
In the chair: Paolo De Castro (S&D, IT)
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