Citizen campaign calls on EU to step up protection of bees
The citizens' initiative Save Bees and Farmers has collected more than 1 million signatures in support of its campaign, with 80,000 of them from Belgium. It is urging EU legislators to keep up with environmental objectives and protect the bee population.
The campaign wants to ban synthetic pesticides used in agriculture by 2035 and implement measures in agriculture that protect bees. On Wednesday, the Commission said it recognised the need for action but is not proposing new legislation.
"The priority should be to swiftly adopt the draft laws that the Commission has prepared and that are currently being negotiated by the member states and the European Parliament, while maintaining a high level of ambition," it said.
The Commission already proposes halving the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture by 2030, restoring ecosystems and initiating a movement to protect pollinators. This package constitutes "a comprehensive answer to the citizens' initiative", it says.
In the EU, one in three bee, butterfly and hoverfly species is in decline, while 80% of crop and wild flowering plant species depend on animal pollination. Half the agricultural land in the EU already runs the risk of a pollination deficit, with a resulting threat to food security.
©TAUSEEF MUSTAFA / AFP