The European Parliament decided on Wednesday not to veto the Commission’s plan to ban the use of plant protection products on some ecological focus areas. The ban can now enter into force.

The resolution objecting to the Commission’s delegated act was rejected as it did not win a support of an absolute majority of all MEPs, i.e. at least 376 votes. Parliament thus by 363 votes in favour of the veto, 267 against and 43 abstentions did not stop the delegated act from entering into force.

 

Why the veto was proposed in the first place

 

The Agriculture committee proposed on 30 May to veto the draft delegated regulation amid concerns for the EU’s protein production. Agriculture MEPs were worried 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. They also criticised the Commission for bundling 14 different rules in one single delegated act forcing thus the Parliament to simply accept or reject the entire package.

 

Next steps

 

Following the Parliament′s decision the draft delegated act banning the use of plant protection products on some EFAs can now enter into force.

 

Background

 

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.