Return of neonicotinoids! Like MPs, Senators lack vision and courage in voting for the return of “bee-killing insecticides”.

  October 28, 2020

Paris, 10/28/2020 : After the deputies, the Senate has just given its green light to the reauthorization of neonicotinoid insecticides after a very divisive debate. Despite the determined opposition of many senators, a majority (of 56 votes) decided to ratify a decision that undermines an already  very reduced biodiversity and the sustainability of our farming practices. In the face of this historical setback, our organizations are warning the public authorities: they will not stop here and will fight for biodiversity, human health and a sustainable agricultural future.

The evening has been marked by a remarkable development: the adoption by one vote by public ballot of 3 amendments to delete Article 1 that reauthorizes neonicotinoids, following the mistake of a political group. Finally, at the end of the evening, after a new vote requested by agriculture minister Julien Denormandie, the Senate adopted the return of the neonicotinoids by a majority as expected. The majority of right-wing and center Senators voted in favor of this law which ignores the laws that were passed in 2016 (biodiversity law) and 2018 (agriculture and food law from the EGA) that had introduced a ban on neonicotinoids (as well as all substances with the same mode of action).

The law will probably be enacted by November, giving seed companies time to coat their seeds with these systemic poisons. Our organizations have demonstrated that there are other ways to deal with the scare tactics of some beet growers’ representatives. We have argued time and again that the return of these insecticides was being made on the basis of too many fallacies. We have constantly reminded that jaundice was the scapegoat for a beet industry in poor economic health since 2017, that this reauthorization was the result of intense lobbying of public authorities since the enactment of the biodiversity law.

The return of these harmful insecticides will have disastrous consequences for our environment and agriculture. It is an attack on the guiding principle of non-regression of environmental law, which the Constitutional Council has already applied. And let us recall that these chemical substances, used to coat sugar beet seeds, are also dangerous to health.

We cannot accept such a choice, which goes backwards in history and contributes to increasing citizens’ mistrust of politicians. This is why we do not intend to stop there. Our organizations will continue to mobilize by all means to prevent such a failure.