Last week (first week of February 2024), the European Commission has shelved its plan to halve pesticide use by 2030, following criticism and polarization within the farming community. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen acknowledged that the proposal had become a symbol of division and stressed the need for more dialogue and a different approach moving forward.
The initial proposals sparked anger among farmers, who felt that decisions were being made about their livelihoods without their input. Von der Leyen acknowledged this sentiment, stating that farmers require a compelling business case for nature conservation measures. She emphasized the importance of halting the deterioration of soil and groundwater quality, although she did not mention any new proposals.
With European Parliament elections approaching in June, support for farmers is crucial in political campaigns across the continent. Farmer protests against both national and European agricultural policies have erupted in several European countries.
The decision to shelve the pesticide reduction plan was met with enthusiasm, particularly from right-wing parties. Matteo Salvini, of Italy's Lega Nord party, hailed the decision as a victory against what he described as the misguided policies imposed by multinationals and left-wing ideologies.
Last November, it became evident that there was no majority in the European Parliament in support of the pesticide reduction plans. The Commission's proposal had already been watered down before the vote to appease critics from the right, but even this revised plan failed to garner enough votes.
Source: https://nos.nl/artikel/2507789-europese-commissie-trekt-voorstel-halveren-pesticiden-in (Dutch News Post)