Agriculture MEP Calls on Colleagues to see Sense on Pesticides

04 November 2008
Scotland's only full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Mr Alyn Smith has today (Tuesday) called on colleagues in the Environment Committee to massively alter the pesticides package before them in their vote tomorrow and warned that the consequences of themvoting through the package as it stands could see European food prices rise by 30%.

Smith has put down amendments to the reports, particularly on triazoles as he is concerned that the package has not taken adequate note of the implications for more northerly, wetter, climates. The Environment Committee vote has seen furious negotiations behind the scenes, but aconsensus appears to be emerging which should see longer implementation times and a smaller "blacklist" than was originally envisaged.

Smith said:

"This pesticides package has demonstrated that some matters cannot in all conscience be dealt with by Parliament, any parliament, as the issues involved are too technical and too complex. I remain deeply concerned that we as parliamentarians have not taken adequate note of theimplications of the vote tomorrow, and while I am not a member of that Committee I have been as active on the issue as I can.

"It is now over to colleagues in Environment, and I hope that they will accept that the package as it stands before them needs a lot of changes. It is too restrictive, unworkable in practice and will have the perverse effect of making EU food more expensive, with some farms shutting downaltogether, and we will find ourselves importing food from outside the EU, odds-on this will have been treated with the very pesticides and fungicides we banned.

"I have no objection to the package in principle, and I am in favour of keeping pressure on the chemicals industry to innovate and come up with cheaper, more effective and safer products, but there has to be a balance, and I fear that the package as drafted goes too far."I remain confident that the eventual result will be workable, but tomorrow's vote is crucial and I hope that colleagues see the bigger picture."