Agri giant under pressure to drop appeal on neonicotinoids ban

Wiebke Schroeder, Campaign Manager at SumOfUs, said the Bayer’s legal action is a “deeply disturbing show of corporate recklessness”. [Shutterstock]

A petition urging multinational Bayer to withdraw an appeal against a top EU court decision on banning neonicotinoids has gathered more than 150,000 signatures in just two days, increasing pressure on the German firm.

The petition was launched by SumOfUs, a global advocacy organisation and online community that monitors big corporations. The group wants to put pressure on the agricultural company to take back its appeal against the court.

On 17 May, the EU General Court upheld the ban on three insecticides blamed for killing off bee populations, dismissing cases brought by chemicals giants Bayer and Syngenta.

“The General Court confirms the validity of the restrictions introduced at EU level in 2013 against the insecticides clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid because of the risks those substances pose to bees,” a court statement said.

“Given the existence of new studies (…) the Commission was fully entitled to find that it was appropriate to review the approval of the substances in question,” it specified.

On 27 July, Bayer said in a statement that it would appeal the ruling of the court as the verdict “could have far-reaching consequences for the certainty and predictability of active substance approvals in the EU”.

“By appealing against the verdict, Bayer aims to ensure that some general interpretations of the crop protection law established by the court are re-considered. These interpretations may have importance beyond this particular case, and Bayer believes they are not legally founded,” the multinational company said.

Deeply disturbing

Wiebke Schroeder, Campaign Manager at SumOfUs, said the Bayer’s legal action is a “deeply disturbing show of corporate recklessness”.

“That is why more than 150,000 SumOfUs members have sent a clear message to Bayer’s profit-hungry executives: Your relentless attack on bees and other pollinators must end.”

Schroeder explained that bees are vital to our food supply, providing one of every three bites of food we eat.

“But bees and other pollinators are declining at catastrophic rates and neonic pesticides are a key culprit. That’s why maintaining the EU’s ban on neonics is so important. Bayer thinks that it can bulldoze over the EU’s decision by tying it up in expensive legal action, but consumers will not let them.”

Invoking science, Europe shuts the door to neonics

The European Commission decided on Friday (27 April) to impose a complete ban on neonicotinoids, after managing to achieve the necessary qualified majority among EU member states.

Environmentalists clash with EFSA over neonicotinoids ban ‘exceptions’

Environmental NGOs have questioned the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) scientific capacity to grant EU member states emergency authorisations for neonicotinoids, whose usage was recently banned.

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