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Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission.
Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission.
February 12, 2024

The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced plans to scrap a proposal halving pesticide use across the European Union (EU).

The move is an apparent concession to farmers who have been protesting in many EU countries against regulations including the planned reduction in pesticide use.

She said the proposal had become a "symbol of polarization."

The reversal still needs to be formally approved.

Pesticide reduction is among a number of grievances that farmers in countries including France, Belgium and the Netherlands have been demonstrating against in recent weeks. They argue that reducing the amount of pesticide they are allowed to use will negatively impact their crops and therefore put food production in the EU at risk.

"Our farmers deserve to be listened to," Von der Leyen told the European Parliament on February 6.

"I know that they are worried about the future of agriculture and their future as farmers."


Von der Leyen also said the issue of pesticide use had not gone away and that further conversations would be needed before a new proposal to reduce them can be put forward. The EU had aimed to halve the use of the chemicals by 2030 as part of its Green Deal, which is aimed at tackling climate change.


Nevertheless, Spain and Bulgaria witnessed hundreds of their farmers take to the streets, blocking roads and causing severe disruption to motorists.mLike farmers elsewhere, they demand more flexibility from the EU, tighter controls on the produce of non-EU countries and more help from their government.


Source: BBC News February 12, 2024


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Submitted by Karen Davidson on 12 February 2024