Conference in Brussels / Neonicotinoids: Is a Total Ban in Sight?

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Location: Meeting Room ASP A5E2, European Parliament, Brussels

Date: 8:30-11:00am, 7 November 2017

Sponsoring MEP: Eric Andrieu, S&D Coordinator for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Parliament

Format: The conference will be composed of a main session, book-ended by introductory and concluding speeches. The main session will be comprised of a panel of invited guest speakers, and will begin with short speeches, to be given by each speaker, followed by a general panel discussion and debate of the theme in question, to be chaired by a moderator, following which the discussion will be opened up to the audience in the form of a Q&A.

Conceptuel Framework

Under Regulation (EU) No 485/2013, which entered into force in December 2013, the European Union subjected the use of three types of neonicotinoid pesticide active substances, thiamethoxam, imidacloprid and clothianidin, used to treat crops attractive to honey bees, to a partial ban, at certain times of year and on certain crops, due to their harmful effects on bees.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has been tasked by the European Commission with reviewing the scientific studies published since 2012 dealing with the impact of these three pesticides on bee health, and drafting a scientific opinion in order to enable the European executive to decide whether this partial ban should be brought to an end, maintained or broadened. A draft version of this report has already been sent to the European Commission, which is expected to submit legislative proposals in favour of a severe restriction on the use of the three neonicotinoids in question to a vote of EU Member States before the end of 2017.

It will perhaps be difficult to bring together a qualified majority of Member States in support of this proposal. However, the question of whether to ban all molecules having a detrimental effect on pollinators and other organisms on which the quantity and quality of our agricultural production depends is one which all EU Member States will clearly have to address. France, for its part, has already taken the historic, radical and courageous decision to ban all pesticides containing neonicotinoids from 2018 onwards.

The purpose of this conference will be to bring together representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament, Member States, EFSA, the scientific community and civil society in order to discuss the practical, health and environmental consequences of the large-scale use of neonicotinoid insecticides, and to debate together the weaknesses in our agricultural model that these reveal.

This will be an opportunity to examine the suitability and the sustainability of an agricultural system that has become dependent on systemic pesticides, taking the specific case of neonicotinoid-coated seeds, in order to assess the role that the EU institutions should play in spurring a transition towards a production model capable of guaranteeing the long term food security of European citizens, while at the same time protecting their health and the environment.

The strength of feeling against the large-scale use of pesticides throughout Europe is such that a petition launched in 2013 by POLLINIS, calling for the total ban of neonicotinoids, succeeded in garnering the signatures of over 1.2 million Europeans. In March 2016, POLLINIS, a French NGO aimed at promoting a new agricultural model that better protects pollinators, presented this petition to the European Parliament. This same petition was presented to the European Commission and to the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU in September 2017.




  • Eric Andrieu MEP, S&D Coordinator for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Parliament
  • Nicolas Laarman, Managing Director, POLLINIS

8:45-10:45amMAIN SESSION

  • Eric Andrieu MEP, S&D Coordinator for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Parliament
  • Dr. Jean-Marc Bonmatin, Research Scientist, Centre for Molecular Biophysics, French National Centre for Research (CNRS); Vice-President, Task Force on Systemic Pesticides;
  • Prof. Peter Neumann, Institute of Bee Health, University of Bern; Chair, Working Group on Ecosystem services, agriculture and neonicotinoids, European Academies Science Advisory Council
  • Caspar A. Hallmann and Professor Hans de Kroon, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Radboud University, authors of the recent study “More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas
  • Dr. Fabio Sgolastra,Research Fellow, General and Applied Entomology, Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Bologna


  • Eric Andrieu MEP, S&D Coordinator for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Parliament
  • Nicolas Laarman, Managing Director, POLLINIS