Farm to Fork strategy: Commission’s reply to the Council on pesticides shows the urgent need to continue reducing pesticides in the EU

The Commission will publish today its response to the request of the Council for additional data on the sustainable use of plant protection products which confirms that the pesticide reduction goals of the Commission proposal for a Regulation on sustainable use of plant protection products (“SUR”) do not threaten food security. This conclusion is not changed by the negative shorter-term impacts of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. On the contrary, any failure to deliver on the pesticide reduction objective now will have long-term and potentially irreversible effects on our food security in the future.

Member States have already made substantial progress towards the targets. This is confirmed in an annual update on the targets for reduction of pesticides, also published today, which shows a reduction of chemical pesticides of 33% and a reduction of more hazardous pesticides of 21% by 2021 at EU level. Although the EU is advancing in the right direction in view of reaching the targets of 50% reduction in the use and risk of chemical and more hazardous pesticides by 2030, more work still needs to be done.

The reply to the Council suggests possible ways to further reduce administrative burden for farmers and take into account the recent developments for alternatives to chemical pesticides. The reply lays down possibilities for further action to accelerate bringing alternatives to the market an maintaining the positive overall trend. This included continuing ensuring that chemical and more hazardous pesticides are only used as a last resort. By consistently applying the principles of integrated pest management (IPM), and receiving independent advice on its application, as is foreseen in SUR, farmers can reduce their reliance on chemical pesticides without jeopardising the profitability of their enterprises.

For further information on the results and the methodology used please visit our website.

(For more information: Stefan De Keersmaecker – Tel.: +32 2 298 46 80; Célia Dejond – Tel.: +32 2 298 81 99)