Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, announced that she would withdraw the proposal for a new law on the sustainable use of pesticides -which failed in its current form in Parliament and Council- and promised to involve the agricultural sector more in the next draft.
The law, which sets binding targets at national and EU levels to reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 50%, as well as the use of the most dangerous pesticides by 2030, was rejected by the European agri-food lobby, which fears its impact on food security.
"The Commission proposed legislation on the sustainable use of pesticides with the commendable aim of reducing the risks associated with the use of chemicals to protect plants. However, the proposal has become a symbol of polarization. It was rejected by Parliament, and it's made no progress in the Council either. Therefore, I'll propose withdrawing the proposal," Von der Leyen said.
Speaking to the European Parliament, where she reported on last week's leaders' summit, Von der Leyen said the issue "is still on the table" even without this proposal and called for "more dialogue and a different approach" to move forward.
"Based on the proposal that is being withdrawn, the Commission could make a new, much more mature proposal that involves all stakeholders," she said, calling on the Commission to avoid the "blame game" and to work together.
"Our farmers will only invest in the future if they can make a living from their land, and they'll only be able to do so if we achieve our climate and environmental goals together," Ms. Von der Leyen stressed.
Brussels wants to use the framework of the strategic dialogue on the future of European agriculture launched on January 25 to listen to all stakeholders before presenting a new proposal, so it is very unlikely that it will present the new project in the short term. The current legislature will end with the European Parliament elections between June 6 and 9.
Ms Von der Leyen told MPs that "our farmers deserve to be heard." She also said that agriculture will need a more sustainable production model to remain profitable and that the sector must take the lead in this transition.