PAN Europe et al v. State of Belgium

C‑162/21
February 16, 2021
Final judgment
European Union, Luxembourg

Environmental NGOs, Beekeepers/Honey Producers
Pesticide Action Network Europe, Nature et Progrès Belgique, TN
State of Belgium
Antoine Bailleux

EU court
Neonicotinoid, Clothianidin, Thiamethoxam, Insecticide
Interpretation of Article 53 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 so that the Council of State may rule on the application for annulment of the six derogatory authorizations for the use of clothianidin and thiamethoxam-based plant protection products
Court of Justice of the European Union of Luxembourg , European Union
Request for a preliminary ruling (EU)

January 19, 2023
Positive
Article 53 (1) of Regulation (EC) N°1107/2009 must be interpreted as not permitting a Member State to authorise the placing on the market of plant protection products for seed treatment, or the placing on the market and use of seeds treated with those products, where the placing on the market and use of seeds treated with those products have been expressly prohibited by an implementing regulation.
EU law

Two organizations and a beekeeper have asked the Belgian Council of State to suspend and cancel the execution of the approvals for seeds treated with clothianidin and thiamethoxam, which are banned in the EU (244.702, 249.843, 227.244/XIII-8.644). In the fall of 2018, invoking the derogatory and temporary regime enshrined in Article 53(1) of Regulation 1107/2009, the Belgian State had issued six approvals for the use of clothianidin and thiamethoxam plant protection products for the treatment of seeds of some crops, including sugar beets, as well as for the placing on the market of these seeds and their sowing in the open. On June 5, 2019, the request for suspension is denied. On the merits of the case, the action for annulment, the Council of State asked the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for a preliminary ruling to in order to interpret Article 53(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009. In its judgment of January 19, 2023, the CJEU held that a Member State cannot approve the placing on the market of plant protection products for seed treatment, nor the use of seeds treated with such products, if the placing on the market and use of seeds treated with such products have been expressly prohibited by an implementing regulation. Two implementing regulations have prohibited the placing on the market and the use, as of the end of December 2018, of seeds treated with clothianidin (2018/784) and thiamethoxam (2018/785), except in cases where the seeds are intended to be used exclusively in permanent greenhouses and where the resulting crop remains in a permanent greenhouse throughout its life cycle.