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New environmental program of the EU Commission: Europe should find its way back to nature


More green cities, moors and trees should make Europe greener and improve the quality of life of the citizens. According to the EU Commission, this also includes a drastic reduction in the use of pesticides.

Enlarge image

Rewetted raised bog in the Tensfelder Moor between Blunk and Tensfeld (Schleswig-Holstein)

Photo: IMAGO/C.

Kaiser / perspective / IMAGO

On Wednesday afternoon, the EU Commission presented a comprehensive package for more environmental and climate protection and announced numerous measures to restore natural habitats.

Specifically, drained moors are to be rewetted and forests are to be reforested.

The renaturation of wetlands, rivers, forests, marine ecosystems, but also nature in urban areas is a crucial investment in food security, health and well-being, said the Brussels authority.

Around 80 percent of European habitats are in poor condition, it said.

According to the latest Eurostat data, there is also a decline in biodiversity and a deterioration in soil quality.

This development is now to be stopped by legally binding requirements.

The proposals are also part of the Green Deal, with which the EU wants to become climate-neutral by 2050.

It is also about the restructuring of agriculture.

Around ten percent of the greenhouse gas CO₂ emitted in the Union comes from the sector.

Specifically, a healthy and environmentally friendly diet should therefore be promoted.

The EU Commission therefore advocated halving the use of pesticides by 2030.

The goal had already been presented in 2020, and the Commission is now explaining in more detail how this is to be achieved.

No more pesticides in playgrounds and city parks

The chemicals should then be taboo, especially on playgrounds or sports fields or in city parks.

"We do not ban pesticides," said EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides in Brussels.

"We want to replace them with safe and sustainable alternatives." Pesticides would then become the "agent of last choice."

How much the member countries reduce their use of pesticides should be determined by them on the basis of criteria that are valid throughout Europe.

Differences between EU countries should be taken into account in the pesticide regulations.

States that already have strict rules would have to reduce consumption less than those that use a lot of pesticides.

The lower limit is a reduction of 35 percent, said a high-ranking employee of the EU Commission.

The authority reserves the right to intervene if a national target is not ambitious enough.

Environmental organizations welcomed the move.

"The proposal for pesticide legislation is a step in the right direction," explains Antje von Broock, BUND Managing Director.

»These include quantitative reduction targets and zones in which no chemical-synthetic pesticides may be applied.

These zones include cities, for example, but also protected areas such as the Natura 2000 network.«

The proposed regulation is now going to the EU countries and the European Parliament.

Agricultural countries such as France and Italy are already warning of risks to the food supply.


Source: spiegel

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