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Agricultural Policy

Near-total loss for neonicotinoids in EU

Decision based on risk assessments that are outside mainstream science

Which grace period (for sell-out and use-up) can be expected?

The length of any grace period, including sell-out and use of stocks, will be at the discretion of the individual Member States.

For the UK , DEFRA is suggesting a phase out period of around 8 months, giving farmers and businesses time to adjust.  Find out more here.

On April 27, a majority of EU Member States endorsed a Commission proposal to restrict the use of imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam to use in greenhouses only. This decision is based on an alleged risk to bees identified by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) using a singularly conservative risk assessment approach. This approach is not in line with those used by many other agencies around the world – including the American Environmental Protection Agency and the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency – who hence came to different risk conclusions.

Implementation timelines

What happened so far?

2013: The European Commission restricts the use of imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam for seed treatment, soil application and foliar treatment in certain bee-attractive crops such as corn and oilseed rape. It also asks EFSA to review additional confirmatory data supplied by the applicants. The crop protection industry questions the legal basis of these restrictions and takes legal action.

MARCH 2017: The Commission unexpectedly proposes to expand the existing restrictions to ban all outdoor uses of the three neonicotinoids, except for use in permanent greenhouses.

FEBRUARY 2018: EFSA publishes the results of its updated risk assessment of the three neonicotinoids.

APRIL 24, 2018: The General Court of the EU announces that it will deliver judgement in the ongoing court cases regarding the 2013 restrictions on May 17.

APRIL 27, 2018: A majority of Member States (16 out of 28) back the Commission’s proposal to ban all outdoor uses. The Commission announces it will adopt the regulation in the coming weeks.

What will happen next?

MAY 17, 2018: Delivery of the verdict in the ongoing court cases (scrutinizing the legal basis of the 2013 restrictions), which could have profound implications for the legal justification of the new restrictions.

MAY–JULY 2018: Entry into force 20 days after publication of the implementing regulation in the EU Official Journal, which is expected within weeks, but at most 3 months from now.

SUMMER 2018: Member States are required to amend or withdraw existing authorizations for plant protection products containing the active substances within 3 months of entry into force. Member States can grant a grace period of up to 6 months after entry into force for the disposal, storage, placing on the market and use of existing stocks. (Timing at discretion of individual Member States.)

AUTUMN-WINTER 2018: Definitive prohibition of placing on the market and use of treated seeds at the latest 6 months after entry into force unless member states prohibit use earlier. (Timing at discretion of individual Member States.)

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