Europe, UK, Ireland, News February 2024

Von der Leyen withdraws contentious pesticide law amid right-wing backlash and farmer protests

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen announced on Tuesday the withdrawal of a contentious law that aimed to reduce the use of pesticides across the European Union, marking the first defeat of the Green Deal, as Jorge Liboreiro and Gerardo Fortuna report for Euronews.

The so-called Sustainable Use Regulation (SUR) was first tabled in June 2022 with the ambitious goal of slashing by half the use of pesticides by 2030. Chemical pesticides employed to maintain crop yields are considered a major source of pollution and have been linked to biodiversity loss, poor-quality water, degraded soils, pest resistance and chronic illnesses.

During her speech on Tuesday morning, the Commission chief spoke at length about farmers, saying they “deserve to be listened to” as they face the ravages of climate change, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis.

But she insisted the sector, which accounts for over 10% of the bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions and is heavily subsidised through the EU budget, needs to transition towards  a “more sustainable model of production.”

Source: Euronews. Read the full story here
Photo: Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission chief. Credit Euronews

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