French Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau announced on Monday that he was abandoning a derogatory measure authorizing the use of neonicotinoid insecticides to protect sugar beet seeds, after a European court decision deeming the derogations for these substances toxic to plants illegal. bees.
"I have no intention of strolling the farmers and in particular those who are worried", declared the minister during a press briefing in Paris.
The government will therefore not propose a “third year of derogation on the coating of beet seeds, it is over for this element, the decision of the (
) Court of Justice is sufficiently powerful not to destabilize even more the system ".
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled last Thursday that no derogation concerning seeds treated with neonicotinoids was justified, including in the exceptional circumstances invoked to protect sugar beets.
These pesticides, which attack the nervous system of insects, are implicated in the massive decline of bee colonies.
Exemptions put in place
Several substances have been banned in the EU since 2018, but a dozen countries have taken derogations to preserve sugar yields, these insecticides making it possible to fight against an aphid vector of beet yellows.
France was preparing to authorize their use in a derogatory manner for the 2023 campaign, after having done the same in 2021 and 2022.
A draft decree authorizing this derogation was in public consultation in France, pending the opinion of the neonicotinoid supervisory board – boycotted by an association and an agricultural union which considered the systematic use of these insecticides unjustified.
"I agreed with the representatives of the sector that we would put in place a system which would make it possible to cover the risk of losses which would be linked to jaundice while we find the alternatives we need", specified Marc. Fesneau.
The Minister also wants “to activate the safeguard clauses at European level so that there is no distortion of competition”, while France is the leading European sugar producer.