Smith Hails EU Pesticide Policy Report: "Major Boost for Common Sense"

08 December 2008
Scotland's only full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Mr Alyn Smith has today (Monday) hailed the publication of a major report on the real world implications of the current debate on EU pesticides policy reform.

Proposals currently under discussion in theEuropean Parliament and Member State governments could see many plant protection products withdrawn from the market, and Smith fears that there are inadequate replacements available. The MEP has consistently pressed the European Commission to carry out a full economic impact assessment as the initial assessment is now almost two years old, so the assessment published today carried out by the European Parliament's Committee carries real weight, and backs Smith's concerns.

The report concludes that Europe's farmers have managed until now to attain world record yields that contributed to the food self sufficiency of the continent. In case the worst scenarios are confirmed, regarding the impact of "cut-off" criteria, the European agriculturaleconomy and related upstream and downstream industries will wither and Europe will become a net importer of agricultural products.

Smith commented:

"This report carries real weight, having been produced by the Parliament's own research people. The fact that this so starkly confirms what many of us have been saying for months is truly frightening, and I hope the member state governments will pay good heed.

"I have no difficulty with the principle that the EU's chemical industry should be pressured to innovate towards cheaper, safer products, but there has to be balance and food security must surely take precedence unless there are real proven risks to any particular product.

"For those of us from wetter climes this dossier is particularly worrying, and while I have seen some moves in a sensible direction from the trialogue process, particularly towards longer lead in times, I remain deeply concerned that the pesticides dossier could make the lives of Europe's farmers, and hence consumers, more difficult and we need to call a halt to the discussions until we are in possession of all the facts."

Download the full report (pdf 349kb)