Parliamentary question - E-001436/2011Parliamentary question

Huge increase in derogations for unauthorised use of pesticides in 2010

Question for written answer E-001436/2011
to the Commission
Rule 117
Frédérique Ries (ALDE) , Alojz Peterle (PPE) , Dan Jørgensen (S&D) , Corinne Lepage (ALDE) and Michèle Rivasi (Verts/ALE)

In January 2009, the European institutions adopted an ambitious package on pesticides, including a new regulation to tighten rules on pesticide use and authorisation in Europe, and a framework directive on sustainable use of pesticides. We all consider that this new legislative framework was a step in the right direction to protect European consumers and the environment, to ban toxic pesticides and to foster innovation towards sustainable agriculture. On the other hand, we all know that this improvement in public health will not be achieved without effective implementation of the law and if, instead, derogations and unofficial arrangements in EU pesticide authorisations become the rule.

This is why we take a serious view of the information in a report published on 26 January 2011 by PAN-Europe (a network of over 600 non-governmental organisations) that shows an explosion of derogations for unauthorised pesticides of over 500 % in a four-year period. More precisely, in 2010, Member States applied for 321 derogations on the basis of Article 8.4 of Directive 91/414/EC concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market. Article 53 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 on the placing on the market of plant protection products also provides for such derogations.

1. Could the European Commission confirm whether or not the 321 derogations were all granted on the basis of the condition of ‘unforeseen danger for human health and the environment’? Furthermore, does the Commission agree that this practice constitutes a real distortion of the spirit of the law?

2. Did the Commission make its own assessment of the condition of the absence of alternatives for being allowed to grant such a derogation? How are the alternatives evaluated, and are non-chemical alternatives included?

3. Did the Commission check whether proper food standards were laid down by Member States granting these derogations and whether proper mitigation measures were taken to prevent damage to health and the environment?

4. How does the European Commission consider that improvements could be made to the right of citizens and associations potentially exposed to the pesticides allowed by these derogations to comment on an application or object to a decision?

OJ C 286 E, 30/09/2011