Farmers Matter : An open letter to Michael Flüh on bees and neonicotinoids

April 20, 2015


Dear Dr Flüh

Congratulations on your appointment as acting director responsible for bee-health in DG Santé. Your predecessor who had campaigned long and hard against the chemical and biotech industries, and had refused any semblance of dialogue, unfortunately has left you in a very difficult position with very little room for compromise on the neonicotinoid temporary ban that is coming up for re-evaluation this year.

Excuse me for writing an open letter to you, but as I had worked for industry nine years ago, I understand that if I had sent this letter by email, you would have had a problem with anti-industry lobbyists who would attack you for even answering my mail. In the interest of transparency, please feel free to reply in the comments section.

So where do we stand at the moment with the neonicotinoid pesticide ban that is coming up for review later this year?

  • First, the precautionary ban was rushed through in record time (less than four months) without an impact assessment and despite a large number of Member States voting against it. Kudos to your predecessor, he was good at getting what he wanted!
  • Secondly, the ban was based on advice that the EFSA bee Risk Assessment Working Group gave following their proposal to change the rules on how field trials must be conducted. This bee guidance was never passed or accepted, and yet the neonicotinoid ban was justified upon this new, unworkable field trial guidance document. It should come as no surprise that this EFSA Bee Working Group has members who are either environmental activist campaigners or experts with no bee research experience (no industry bee research was considered). As this EFSA panel has been corrupted, I strongly suggest that you get the SecGen to concentrate on fixing that rot.

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