EU evaluates emergency uses of neonicotinoid pesticides

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has examined the scientific basis for emergency authorisations of neonicotinoid pesticides which were granted in seven EU Member States in 2017. The development follows a decision by the European Commission in May 2018, following endorsement by Member States, to further restrict the use of neonicotinoids on the basis of a new risk assessment from the EFSA.
EFSA’s reports evaluate on a country-by-country basis whether other pesticides could have been substituted for the neonicotinoid products and assess the availability of non-insecticidal alternatives.  The reports consider only the justification for issuing emergency authorisations. The methodology does not cover measures taken by Member States to mitigate the risk to bees and the environment from neonicotinoid-based pesticides.
The reports – which contain detailed assessments of the emergency authorisations granted in each country – have been shared with risk managers at the European Commission.

Member State governments may override the restrictions and issue emergency authorisations in cases where there is evidence that the threat from particular plant pests cannot be contained by other means. Several Member States have repeatedly granted such authorisations since 2013, when the European Commission first placed restrictions on the use of pesticide products containing the active substances clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid (due to concerns about bee health).