The EU Commission will withdraw the Regulation on a more sustainable use of plant protection products in viticulture and agriculture (SUR). This was announced by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. In November, MEPs in the EU Parliament rejected the Commission's proposal to reduce the use of plant protection products by half by 2030.
As von der Leyen explained to MEPs, the Commission had proposed the SUR Regulation with the aim of reducing the risks of using chemical plant protection products. However, after the vote in the European Parliament, no further progress had been made in the Council. "I will therefore propose to my colleagues in the Commission that the draft be withdrawn," said von der Leyen. In view of the numerous protests by farmers throughout Europe, the aim is to overcome the polarisation of the debate. Farmers need attractive economic incentives for more nature conservation. "Only if we achieve our climate and environmental protection goals together will farmers be able to maintain their livelihoods."
The end of the SUR regulation is welcomed by many representatives of agriculture and viticulture. The proposal was full of unrealistic targets that would have jeopardised food security, said Alexander Bernhuber, chief negotiator of the European People's Party in the European Parliament for the Plant Health Regulation: "The reduction targets would not have been feasible in practice and would only have led to even more bureaucracy on farms". Artur Steinmann, President of the Franconian Winegrowers' Association, writes in a press release: "If the SUR had been implemented as planned, we would have had no more viticulture, not even organic viticulture, on around a third of Franconia's cultivated area".
Others, such as environmental chemist Helmut Burtscher-Schaden from the environmental protection organisation Global 2000, are critical of the end of SUR: "In the midst of the climate and biodiversity crisis, the EU Commission is burying its important and ambitious plan for a binding reduction in pesticides - this is the wrong response to the pressing challenges facing agriculture! The European Commission has taken a decision that will first and foremost harm farmers. They are the first victims of pesticide use and also the first to suffer from the resulting deterioration in agricultural production conditions.
According to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, however, the issue is not off the table: "The Commission wants to present a more mature proposal together with representatives of all stakeholders, including winegrowers.
(al / Editorial team)