Brussels (Brussels Morning) The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has upheld the bloc-wide partial ban on German Bayer pharmaceuticals’ insecticides that have been linked to the death of bee colonies, Reuters reported.
In 2018, a lower EU court ruled against Bayer. The appeal the company filed against it was dismissed by the ECJ on Thursday.
The partial ban applies to three active compounds — insect neurotoxins imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.
The ECJ ordered Bayer to pay its legal costs and those of other parties in the proceedings.
Bayer insists its products are safe
Noting it was disappointed with the ruling, Bayer insisted that its products are safe, and pointed out that they are used in other parts of the world.
“The verdict seems to allow the Commission almost carte blanche to review existing approvals upon the slightest evidence, which need not even be new scientific data”, a Bayer spokesperson stated.
In 2013, the EC imposed a partial ban on the use of the three active compounds, banning their use on maize, rapeseed and some cereals, but allowing their use on other crops.
The Commission stressed that misuse of pesticides has caused the loss of bee colonies, which is why it decided to review its approval of the three neonicotinoids.
Bayer insists there is no scientific justification for the ban. With the Chinese-owned Syngenta Group, Bayer had warned the ban on insecticides would force farmers to use older products and spray more.
Greenpeace welcomes the ruling
Greenpeace legal strategist Andrea Carta applauded the ECJ for having “reaffirmed that protecting nature and people’s health takes precedence over the narrow economic interests of powerful multinationals.”
The EC has proposed a plan to protect the bees that includes halving the use of chemical pesticides and cutting use of fertiliser by 20% by 2030.While the EU-wide ban was in place, 206 emergency authorisations for the use of the pesticides in the bloc were approved between 2013 and 2019.