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Pressure Builds to Save Ecological Focus Areas from Pesticides

photo: Die Auslöser Berlin

photo: Die Auslöser Berlin

23 member states are trying to get permission to use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in what are supposed to be Ecological Focus Areas – EFAs. This was a core part of the so called greening of Pillar I of the CAP. Right up until the final negotiations, it was understood by many that these EFAs were to be pesticide free. At the last minute, however, a large number of member states have attempted to fundamentally alter what an EFA is.

That this attempt to allow pesticides in EFAs has happened at the Delegated Acts stage is noteworthy: this stage is supposed to be, simply, the writing into law of the Basic Acts. The Basic Acts are what has been agreed by the trilogue process and by co-decision making. In other words, two years of hard negotiations are over, and all are supposed to now be agreed on the basic stuff – the essence of the plan for European agriculture 2014-2020. No significant change is supposed to be made in the Delegated Act stage – it is supposed to just be about formalised what has already been agreed.

Thus, the last minute attempt to in large part destroy the greening of Pillar I will be resisted by a whole range of groups – environmental, agri-food and blends of the two  – in the weeks ahead.

Probable timeline of EU decision-making on Delegated Acts: beginning of March 2014: final revised text of delegated acts published by the Commission; 17-18/03/2014: last meeting of the Agriculture committee of the Parliament before the European elections; April: last Plenary session and possible European Parliament vote on Delegated Acts; Mid-May 2014: earliest possible date of coming into force of the CAP reform Delegated Acts.

The Parliament, National Ministers, the Commission and civil society will all be targeted in a wide ranging campaign.  Part of campaigning already began this week, with a letter, initiated by EEB and BirdLife, and co-signed by, to Mr. Georg Haüsler Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Cioloş.

Find the letter and more information at: