Anthea McIntyre: Parliament’s pesticides committee reached the wrong conclusions

Written by Martin Banks on 12 April 2019 in News
News

A special committee set up by Parliament to look into the authorisation of potentially harmful pesticides reached the “wrong conclusions” and “disregarded key evidence”, according to a UK MEP.

Photo credit:Press Association


Anthea McIntyre has now put forward a raft of amendments to the findings of the “committee on the European Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides.”

The committee had been examining the issue for the past year and its report was adopted earlier this year by 526 votes to 66 against.

It proposed several measures, including that the public should be granted access to the studies used in the procedure to authorise a pesticide, including all the supporting data and information relating to the applications.


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Concerns were also raised about the right of applicants to choose a particular Member State to report on the approval of an active substance and called on the European Commission to allocate authorisation renewal to a different Member State.

McIntyre, the European Conservatives and Reformists Group co-ordinator on the temporary committee, has now produced an “alternative” report assessing the evidence put before her fellow committee members and suggesting different recommendations.

Launching “The European Union’s Authorisation Procedure for Pesticides: A Science-Based Approach” in Parliament on Thursday, she said she wanted to “set the record straight” and “offer balance” to the committee’s proposals for the future of pesticides regulation.

She told this website, "Despite hearing from a range of experts and authorities, the report was prepared in a very selective manner, with many of these experts’ contributions being completely disregarded. The report was extremely disappointing and reflected poorly on the work of the European Parliament."

“Despite hearing from a range of experts and authorities, the report was prepared in a very selective manner, with many of these experts’ contributions being completely disregarded” Anthea McIntyre MEP

The McIntyre report concludes: "Regrettably, rather than offer a balanced, thoughtful reflection on the legislative framework, the report purposefully vilifies those involved, from the European Food Safety Agency to national competent authorities and underplays their effectiveness."

McIntyre added, "Our current system isn’t perfect and can be improved. The EU can act to improve transparency, something the Commission has already done with its legislative proposal to revise the General Food Law.”

“We should encourage innovation - new farming techniques can reduce the need for pesticides. We should support scientific development - new active substances can make older, more persistent chemistry, obsolete.”

"The Commission, EU regulatory agencies, Member State authorities and Greenpeace, who all gave evidence to the special committee, said it was not flaws in the legislation that needed to be addressed, but improvements in its implementation. This report should have struck a balance and reflected the breadth of expert testimony it heard,” McIntyre added.

However, Belgian Greens deputy Bart Staes defended the committee, saying, “The special committee brought to light serious shortcomings in the authorisation of pesticides and the report demands big improvements.”

“The overwhelming support for reform of the pesticide authorisation procedure through more transparency and independent research is a wake-up call for EU governments and the European Commission, as well as a way forward to restore citizens’ trust in EU decision making.”

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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