Here, I relate what the journalist said in his article “Néonicotinoïdes : « L’interdiction intervient alors que les dégâts sont immenses et en partie irréversibles »”. All quotes, originally in French, were translated by me.
The European Commission reportedly announced on April 27 that the three NNIs that were subject to the moratorium in 2013 (imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam) would be banned in all their outdoor uses.
S. Foucart nevertheless criticizes the lateness of this decision, which signals a “serious regulatory disaster”. Indeed, as the apidologist Gérard Arnold recalls, beekeepers reported serious disorders as early as 1994, of which imidacloprid was already suspected. However, it was not until 7 years that the then Minister of Agriculture (Jean Glavany) formed a group of experts: the Scientific and Technical Committee for the Multifactorial Study of Bee Disorders (CST). The latter issued its conclusions in 2003, accusing the same NNI and pointing to shortcomings in the risk assessment for MAs. (Doucet-Personeni et al. 2003) This could have marked “the beginning of the end of the controversy”, however the “agrochemical companies” used “the toolbox of the tobacco companies to turn science against itself and sow doubt”.
It was only 8 years later that the European Commission asked EFSA to look into the matter further. Its report, published in 2012, was consistent with that of the CST and also identified flaws in the risk assessment for the MA. However, the moratorium decided in 2013 only targeted 3 NNIs, for a limited duration and uses. It was not until 2018, 24 years after the first alerts, that EFSA reportedly banned the 3 NNIs “for good”. In the meantime, all the entomofauna have plummeted, as a German study published in October 2017 (Hallman et al. 2017) noted that “populations of flying insects may have declined in Europe by nearly 80% over the past three decades.”