In their draft report released today, co-rapporteurs Norbert Lins (EPP, DE) and Bart Staes (Greens/EFA, BE) point to procedural shortcomings and make recommendations how to fix them.

The draft report lists MEPs findings, concerns and recommendations. It is available here.

Co-Rapporteur Norbert Lins said: "Even though my co-rapporteur Bart Staes and I have different approaches, our report is based on the new insights we gained from the hearings.

Norbert Lins: system should remain science-based

My key-takeaway is that EU has the most stringent approval system in the world. Nevertheless, a system can always improve. The EPP Group first and foremost wants to make sure the authorisation procedure for plant protection products remains science-based and relies on independent, transparent and efficient processes. We cannot let science be led by politics.

One key change for more independence is to allow the Commission to nominate the Rapporteur Member State for active substances. This will not only further increase the quality of assessment, as the Commission will only choose countries that have adequate expertise and resources, but also ensure robust and timely results.

I am convinced that this change, combined with more harmonisation, improved transparency measures and up-to-date science, will improve the trust in the EU's approval system whilst protecting the competitiveness of the agricultural sector in the EU."

Bart Staes: ensure public access to full studies

Co-rapporteur Bart Staes said: "I am glad that both me and Mr Lins agree on the fact that there is a need to improve both Regulation 1107 as well as its implementation – even when we have different views on some other issues.

From a Greens perspective, it is very important that the report calls for more transparency, for example via public access to full studies prior to EFSA opinions. I do hope the work of the PEST committee will improve the quality of the assessments of active substances via up-to-date methods and by giving scientific peer-reviewed open literature the same weight as “good laboratory practice” studies or industry’s.

The EU should especially improve the assessment of plant protection products, including long-term toxicity and commit to post-marketing monitoring. By these and other measures we should try to avoid scientific controversies, such as we saw with glyphosate, which created distrust in EU decision making."

Next steps

The draft report will be up for a debate during the 27 September committee meeting. It will be voted on the 6th of December.