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Procedure : 2008/2645(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0579/2008

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Debates :

PV 19/11/2008 - 20
CRE 19/11/2008 - 20

Votes :

PV 20/11/2008 - 6.15
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

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Texts adopted
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Thursday, 20 November 2008 - Strasbourg
Situation in the beekeeping sector

European Parliament resolution of 20 November 2008 on the situation in the beekeeping sector

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Rule 108(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the beekeeping sector throughout the world, and more particularly in Europe, is encountering very serious difficulties,

B.   whereas apiculture has a beneficial impact on the ecosystem as a whole and is essential for the agricultural ecosystem in particular,

C.   whereas it is essential to preserve biodiversity, to which apiculture makes a significant contribution through cross-pollination activities,

D.   whereas beekeeping has been practised in Europe for thousands of years and forms an integral part of its cultural and agriculture heritage,

E.   whereas apiculture products confer nutritional and medicinal benefits,

F.   whereas the variety and high quality of honey and other apiculture products such as royal jelly, propolis, venom and beeswax produced by the European beekeeping sector is due to its expertise and the diversity of its climate,

G.   whereas the sector suffers unfair competition from products originating in third countries and imported into the Community market,

H.   whereas honey may be imported from various regions of the world, but only bees, in sufficient numbers, can guarantee pollination,

I.   whereas there is a serious threat of a decline in bee colonies due to the significant reduction in the supply of pollen and nectar,

J.   whereas there has been a drastic decline in the number of bee colonies in the world,

K.   whereas the continued presence in hives of the parasitic bee mites, Varroa spp., colony collapse disorder and the spread of Nosema ceranae are among the causes of the crisis in bee health,

L.   whereas 76% of the production of food for human consumption is dependent on the beekeeping sector,

M.   whereas 84% of vegetable species cultivated in Europe depend on pollination,

N.   whereas the instructions and good practice applicable to the use of biocides are too often ignored,

O.   whereas no methods exist as yet to eradicate certain bee diseases which result in a reduction in their resistance and the loss of hives,

1.  Considers that it is essential to respond without delay to the crisis in bee health in an appropriate manner and with effective tools;

2.  Considers that action should be taken to tackle unfair competition from apiculture products originating in third countries, which is partly the result of lower production costs, particularly as regards the price of sugar and labour;

3.  Calls on the Commission to step up immediately further research into the parasites and diseases, as well as other potential causes such as erosion of genetic diversity and cultivation of genetically modified crops, decimating the bee population, while making additional budgetary resources available for this research;

4.  Considers it vital to make it compulsory to indicate the country of origin of bee honey on labels;

5.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to introduce measures under the CAP Health Check encouraging the creation of ecological compensation areas (such as apicultural set-aside areas) especially in large areas of arable cultivation; calls for such areas to be situated in those parts of fields which are difficult to cultivate, where plants such as phacelia, borage, charlock and wild white clover could be grown, providing rich sources of nectar in areas where bees gather;

6.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to give due consideration to the health of bees, the possibilities for marketing bee products and the economic impact on the beekeeping sector in all discussions and future legislative steps concerning the cultivation of genetically modified crops in the European Union;

7.  Calls on the Commission to promote the necessary measures to limit the risk of insufficient pollination both for beekeepers and for farmers, whose production could increase considerably;

8.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the quality of surface water is monitored and controlled, as bees are highly sensitive to any deterioration in their environment;

9.  Calls on the Commission to undertake research into the link which exists between bee mortality and the use of pesticides such as thiamethoxam, imidacloprid, clothianidin and fipronil so that it can take appropriate measures as regards authorisation of such products;

10.  Calls on the Commission to coordinate all information pertaining to this situation that is presently available in each Member State; believes that the Commission should cooperate with recognised organisations with a view to exchanging scientific information they have concerning the impact of pesticides on bees;

11.  Considers it vital to introduce a requirement that imported honey be analysed to detect the possible presence of American foulbrood bacteria;

12.  Urges the Commission to propose a financial aid mechanism for apiaries which are in difficulties due to bee mortality;

13.  Calls for the Commission to incorporate into its veterinary policy research into, and action to tackle, bee diseases;

14.  Calls on the Commission to urge all Member States to bring forward immediate support for the beekeeping sector;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

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