The EU has failed in a commitment to reduce "substantially" the level of chemical pesticide use over the last five years, according to a coalition of NGOs campaigning to reduce dependency on artificial pesticides. In an open letter to environment commissioner Margot Wallström, the Pesticides Action Network (PAN) says that "no concrete steps" have been taken towards fulfilling the pledge, which they say was included in the EU's fifth action programme on environment and sustainable development. The programme concludes at the end of this year and a "global assessment" of its effectiveness is due to be published imminently. In a position paper accompanying the letter, PAN calls for a requirement to be placed on all member states to institute pesticide use reduction programmes within five years. It also calls for subsidies to farmers under the common agricultural policy (CAP) to be made conditional on pesticide reductions under the "cross-compliance" provisions introduced in the most recent reform of the CAP ( ENDS Daily 11 March), and for concrete targets to be set for the growth of organic farming. The group welcomed Ms Wallström's statements that EU chemicals policy would be one of her priorities in office and called for her to publish a communication outlining options for future pesticides policy.
Pesticides Action Network Europe, tel: +44 171 274 8895. References: PAN's letter and position paper are on the group's web site.
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