A Conservative MEP has hit out at a report by the European Parliament’s special committee on pesticides which ‘vilified’ the bodies involved in approvals for plant protection products (PPPs).
The report, which recommended the decision to re-licence glyphosate be re-assessed, was adopted by the European Parliament with 526 votes to 66.
But Anthea McIntyre, who sat on the special committee, has now published her own alternative report, describing the original piece of work as ‘extremely disappointing’ and a ‘poor reflection’ on the European Parliament.
Ms McIntyre said: “The European Union’s approval process for PPPs is one of the most stringent systems in the world.
“Yet to read the PEST Committee’s report, you really would not think so. 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.
“Rather than offer a balanced and thoughtful reflection on the legislative framework governing pesticide approvals, the report purposely vilifies those involved, from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to the national competent authorities, and underplays its effectiveness for controlling pesticides.”
In her alternative report, Ms McIntyre pointed out the contradictions in the committee’s work, which criticised EFSA for being influenced by industry in its decision to re-approve glyphosate, while also calling for the authority to be made responsible for risk assessment of all PPPs.
Her own set of recommendations include offering financial incentives to promote the use of precision farming techniques and agri-tech more generally, supporting farmers in adopting Integrated Pest Management (IPM) systems and improving the transparency of the pesticide approvals regime.
“It is important to stress the current approval system is not fundamentally broken,” Ms McIntyre’s report read.
“The [committee’s] report conclusions stand at odds with the balance of expert testimony given at the hearings – namely that the legislation is largely robust and fit for purpose, but there are inconsistencies in its implementation and the transparency of scientific assessments could be improved.
“As a result, many of its recommendations would only serve to increase the length of an already long and often delayed procedure for authorisation, stifling innovation and damaging EU competitiveness without any appreciable gain.”