Here, I relate what the journalist said in his article “Abeilles et pesticides : les ONG s’alarment d’un affaiblissement de la réglementation européenne”. All quotes, originally in French, were translated by me.
On 23 September, EFSA reportedly presented to “associations representing civil society” the progress of the reform of “the risk assessment of pesticides for foragers.” These NGOs would be alarmed, with future generations going so far as to call the changes “catastrophic.” Barbara Berardi of the Pollinis association would denounce that “Member States and the European Commission are in the process of lowering the levels of protection provided for in the ‘guide document’ prepared by EFSA in 2013″.
With agrochemicals manufacturers estimating that these specifications would lead to the exclusion of “nearly 80% of substances already on the market”, the European executive asked EFSA in July 2019 to revise its guide document.
The scheme adopted by Member States is said to be one of the least protective of those presented by EFSA. It would “consider as acceptable a reduction in the size of a bee colony exposed to a pesticide, if this reduction remains within a “range of natural variability”.” This would be calculated using an algorithm, “Beehave”, co-developed by Syngenta. However, since “background” pollution is already affecting beehive mortality, this would underestimate the toxicity of pesticides.
Barbara Berardi also points out that this logic is not applicable to wild pollinators, for which risk assessment methods would remain unclear. The opacity of the process is also a problem. Thus, according to MEP Pascal Canfin:
“It is unacceptable that this type of decision is still taken in the greatest secrecy of a committee where we do not even know the positions defended by the states”