Towards a “strong initiative” to phase out pesticides, announces Macron

Emmanuel Macron pledged Friday to carry “a strong initiative (…) of accelerated exit of pesticides” when France will have the rotating presidency of the European Union, while French agriculture is struggling to reduce its dependence on synthetic pesticides .

“I want the French Presidency of the European Union to carry out on this subject of pesticides, and I am committing myself to it here, a strong initiative, with all colleagues, of an accelerated phase-out of pesticides”, declared Emmanuel Macron, without more details, at the opening of the World Congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Marseille. Paris will take over the rotating EU presidency in the first half of 2022.

Broken promises

“It is only at European level that we will get there, otherwise we will slow down,” he continued. Sales of chemical pesticides were up in 2020 in France, with stocks being built up by farmers anticipating restrictions. Since the Grenelle de l’Environnement at the end of 2007, which set a target of reducing the use of synthetic pesticides by 50% in ten years, successive plans have failed.

The “glyphosate exit” promised by Emmanuel Macron did not materialize either. Many crops are struggling to do without this weedkiller, which is as controversial as it is effective, currently authorized until the end of 2022 in the European Union.

The government has also been severely criticized by environmental protection associations for having announced in August 2020 the temporary reintroduction of neonicotinoid insecticides, described as “bee killers”, for the cultivation of beet.

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