EU adjourns decision about the ban of neonicotinoids harming bees

During its meeting on 12th & 13th of Dec 2017 the EU Committee for pesticides together with the member states and the EU Comission did once more not reach a decision about a ban on the three neonicotionids Clothianidin, Imidacloprid and Thiamethoxam for outdoor application. These pesticides are proven to be harmful to bees and other insects.


The EU Comission restricted the authorisation for these three neonicotinoids in 2013, but they are still used for certain purposes and crops. Bees lose their orientation skills if they come in contact with these highly effective neurotoxins.

Back in October 2016 The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) identified the high and chronic risks for bees that result from contact with most of the plants, that had been treated with Clothianidin and Imidacloprid. Syngenta, who is producing Thiamethoxam, did not submit the necessary information for a risk assessment. In the Comission´s present regulation drafts regarding a ban of outdoor use of these substances, the EFSA´s findings about the hazards for bees and data gaps are summarized. Therefor it is completely incomprehensible, that the EU has not reached a decision about the ban since EFSA´s evaluation over one year ago!

The manufacturers of these neonicotinoids (Bayer and Syngenta) are filing complaints against the partial restrictions of the authorisations from 2013 at the European Court in Luxembourg (EuG). Three beekeeping associations from the Bee Protection League (Bündnis zum Schutz der Bienen) are approved as interveneres and parties to the proceedings and are defending the Comission´s decision from 2013.

The conflict is about fundamentals: Is the Comission allowed to subsequently restrict EU authorisations when risks for health and the environment occur or is investment protection in favor for corporations placed above all? With whom lies the burden of proof when risks are assessed?

At the moment we are waiting for the judgment of the court. The proceeding will definitely be taken to the next instance (European Court, EuGH), because the manufacturers have suffered high damages and because the Comission and also the beekeeping associations will fight for their position.

The rulings will have a big impact on the pending reorganisation of admission rules for pesticides.

But it is not enough to only defend the decisions from 2013 at court.  For the proection of bees and insects, neonicotinoids need to be banned completely and we need to prevent that other active substances of the group of neonicotinoids (for example Thiacloprid) can be used instead.

Support our call for a swift ban of neonicotinoids by the decision of the EU member states and Comission!

The Bee Protection League is funding the legal costs for beekeeping associations fighting for a complete ban on neonicotinoids at EU courts. These legal costs are high. As process participants we can prevent that the Comission won´t drawback to the interests of pesticide manufacturers only if beekeeping associations proceed with the court cases.

Please support us with a donation, so that we can fund the legal costs for beekeeping associations and fight for a ban of neonicotinoids in a professional and effective way!