Bijdrage mili­eu­com­missie over fipronil, tricy­clazole, ECHA en pesti­cides

29 november 2023

Anja Hazekamp (PvdD):


Thank you Chair, I want to present the objection to the raising of the maximum residue limits of fipronil. I do this also on behalf of the co-objectors Maria Arena from the S&D Group, Michal Wiezik from Renew and Jutta Paulus from the Greens.

The biodiversity crisis is one of the main threats humanity faces, and the dramatic decline in pollinators is perhaps the most scary phenomenon in this crisis. Without pollinators our abundance of plants will quickly decimate, and our food production will face insurmountable problems.

We have to do all we can to protect our pollinators, not only in the EU, but worldwide. The Commission acknowledged that on several occasions. We’ve banned the use of most of the bee-killing neonicotinoids. Also, fipronil, which has a similar disastrous effect on bees, cannot be used as a pesticide anymore in the EU.

The Commission also took action to ensure that imported products cannot contain measurable residues of two of the main bee-killing insecticides, namely clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

Unfortunately, despite all the evidence that fipronil is one of the major contributors to pollinator loss, it is still used outside of Europe, including in Brazil. But instead of insisting that Brazil stops this toxic form of agriculture, the Commission is actually encouraging it by now proposing to double the maximum residue limits of fipronil on sugar cane, and raising the MRLs in meat even up to six times of the current level. This puts the bees in unacceptable danger.

Furthermore, I fear for the health of our citizens, in Brazil and now also in the EU, if we raise those residue limits. We all remember the big scandal and the health concerns that resulted from the widespread illegal use of fipronil in poultry farms in the EU and in Asia. My own country was heavily involved here, and the responsible Dutch advisory body had to conclude that the Acceptable Daily Intake of children could have been exceeded, even by eating a few contaminated eggs a week.

The possibility of further illegal use of fipronil has not been taken into account at all in the risk assessment of EFSA, which I find highly naïve. Fipronil is highly toxic, and thus very effective, so it will always be a seductive option for fraudulent livestock owners. And fipronil is highly persistent, it is even on the PFAS restriction list, so it is a true ‘forever chemical’. That also means that we all are very likely still exposed to historic pollution.

Honestly, I would have expected the Commission to stay firm to their commitment to support the global transition to sustainable agri-food systems. We should be able to trust them to protect the health of humans, animals and the environment. I’m disappointed by their surrender to the Brazilian intensive farming sector and the lobby of BASF and other pesticide companies. I hope for the support of my colleagues to right this mistake.

Thank you.


Thank you Chair.

This is a very interesting turn of events, with EPP, ECR and ID writing resolutions to stop pesticides. I must say I rather like it and would encourage them to do this much more often! However, when they indeed intent to do this more often, perhaps they should also do some research into the risks of the use of pesticides for our health and the health of the environment, not only for Spanish rice farmers, especially in this environment committee.

There is a lot written in the resolutions that I absolutely do not agree with, with heavy semantics and fake news about the EU being perfect and pesticides being necessary….

And there is a lot missing in the argumentation on why the EU needs to make sure that we do not import food and feed that contains hazardous pesticides that we’ve banned for use in the EU.

Nevertheless, I agree with the principled point that we should not facilitate the use of banned pesticides by setting import tolerances. Therefore, I will support the resolution of MEP Montserrat.


Thank you Chair, and thank you Doctor McGuinness for being here. We have a lot to talk about.

Firstly, the Chemical legislation. We urgently need a revision of the REACH Regulation. Of course it is clear that it is not up to ECHA whether or not that legislative proposal is finally adopted by the Commission. But perhaps you can tell us what kind of update you would like to have, what changes you would like to see in the regulation and what impacts that would have on your work, and on our health and environment?

Secondly, we need more action, collaboration and research efforts to phase out animal testing. Still, millions or animals are suffering under horrible conditions, undergoing horrible tests, and many of them for the most ridiculous uses. I want to thank you for your effort so far. But of course, I am curious. What are you doing to speed things up in the future and to make sure that this cruelty stops in the very near future?

Then, the Chemicals Strategy, the Commission promised us to install an export ban on hazardous chemicals that are banned for use in the EU. We still don’t have this proposal. It seems the Commission is now saying we first need to evaluate the regulation, on the Prior Informed Consent. In your opinion, what would be the best way to ban the exports of chemicals, including pesticides, which are so dangerous that they are banned here?

Finally, can you please update us on the progress to prohibit PFAS. What progress are you making to end these forever chemicals? Also here, I worry that the restriction is only on the use of those PFAS, and not on the production of these substances. What can we do to also ban the production and exports of them?

Thank you.


How many bees, butterflies and bumble bees have died or became chronically ill due to neonics, while the Commission is sitting on the judgement of the Court of justice and doing nothing to prevent the use of these extremely dangerous toxins? And how much longer is the Commission going to wait? I was shocked to hear the Commission say this morning that it was up to the Member States to use emergency authorisations to band pesticides. I am relieved that miss Bury here says that this is absolutely not the case. So, I am curious, which one is it. Which one of the two spokespersons is telling the accurate situation within the European Commission. Is it up to the Member States to use these emergency authorisations, or not?

The judgement was clear, the science is clear. We need to enforce that ban on the use of illegal substances right now. And I demand a strong action of the Commission.

Furthermore, we need the Commission to finally take real steps to solve the recurring issue of dangerous pesticides being kept on the market, where outdated approvals are extended time and time again because the reassessment is still not finished. We as the Parliament have objected to the most hazardous one’s time and time again. But nothing seems to change. What will the Commission do to finally make sure that both the reporting Member State and EFSA are doing their reassessments in time? The deadlines are violated over and over and that is literally poisoning our countryside, pollinators and bees. Why don’t you start infringement procedures? And why don’t you just use the article 21 procedure to ban these hazardous pesticides, like chlorotoluron? We objected so many times against this. In just automatically extending these toxic approvals you are failing your duty to protect the health of people and planet.

You are however not alone in that failure. Also, my extreme-right/centre-right colleagues have failed that duty last week, by demolishing the pesticide regulation. In our ENVI mandate on the SUR, we had a carefully crafted package to speed up the authorisation of biological plant protection products. We’ve failed to adopt this in plenary, but I would still like to hear from the Commission what they will do with our proposals to green the farmers toolbox, as they say.

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