An MEP Submitted An EU Proposal To Ban Sulfoxaflor To Save Bees
- So why did it fail?

First, let me state this:

Like many, I get fed up when politicians oppose each other just for the sake of it, and in spite of the greater good. 

I know I'm not alone in this, and every now and then, we hear some politicians on differing sides of the political spectrum, promising us they shall refrain from doing it. 

And sometimes they do :) ! 

So in practice, what does this mean?

It means that if necessary, political groups from opposing sides, should not play political games, and instead, should unite on issues of significance.

Stop Press!

Despite the earlier EFSA opinion, the EU has approved a second neonicotinoid - that's 2 next-generation neonics in 3 months.

EFSA approval (opens a new window).

This is easily explained by a political group to its supporters - and on either side of the debate, by a simple statement, such as:

"Whilst we are in no way aligned to the general principles of this party, the issue at stake here is important, and for the greater good, and because of this, we have decided to support it".

Indeed, working together is not impossible.  In the UK, we have cross party committees, (the Environment Audit Committee, for example), comprising a mixed bunch of politicians.

Lobbying in the EU - who lobbies most?  The agro-chemical industry.  Source: Corporate Europe.Lobbying in the EU - who lobbies most? The agro-chemical industry. Source: Corporate Europe.

So let's get back to bees.....

In July 2015, and despite the earlier EFSA conclusions on neonicotinoids, a new insecticide, Sulfoxaflor, a systemic neurotoxin, was approved by the EU.

This insecticide has been found to be effective against 'target pests' which have built up a resistence to the neonicotinoid Imidacloprid.

In the USA, the court overturned the initial approval of this pesticide earlier in the year.

Attempt to overturn EU approval of Sulfoxaflor, and gain a ban

On October 13th, a Member of the European Parliament, Sylivie Goddyn, attempted to secure a ban on Sulfoxaflor in the EU.  You can find the relevant document attempted to secure a ban on Sulfoxaflor(1). 

The MEP was outvoted 31 votes to 18. 

So why did the ban fail?

The answer is suggested in the EU news site, Euractive:

"We plan to propose another amendment on sulfoxaflor very soon. But it must be politically coherent. We cannot support people that want to destroy Europe. All the Socialist & Democrat (S&D) group members of the Environment Committee voted against it," the French Socialist MEP Guillaume Balas explained.”

Read the full article here:

The article suggests the Socialist parties opposed the proposal, because it came from Marine Le Pen's party.

I find this absolutely inexcusable!

Bees are NOT political pawns!  Throughout my campaigning, I have actively supported any politician in any attempts to help bees, never mind the political party, and whether I like them or not! 

If you had wanted to show the people that the EU works for the greater good, you should have supported the ban, M. Balas! 

Instead of which, M. Balas, you have proven that the EU is nothing but a playground for overpaid politicians such as yourself, to engage in political point-scoring, largely away from the direct scrutiny of the European electorate, such is the nature of the remote Brussels' beast!

As regards the statement:

"We plan to propose another amendment on sulfoxaflor very soon. But it must be politically coherent".

As of 30th Sept 2016, there has been NO amendment at all, and thanks to M. Balas and his colleagues, Sulfoxaflor remains approved.

I find this totally disingenuous, and merely an excuse to justify opposing the ban for political reasons!  I have read the item, and saw absolutely nothing wrong with it, and certainly no reason for delaying a ban!  If the other parties had any amendments to add, additional proposals could have been submitted later, instead of playing politics and time wasting.

No doubt, something will be drafted in order for the opposition parties to save face, but I shall be very interested to see if the difference is anything of substance, workable, and worthy of delaying Goddyn's amendment. UPDATE:  No such update was submitted by M. Balas.

Meanwhile, time ticks by.

Bees are too important for political games, M. Balas.

As a voter, I expect MEPs to rise above childishness in order to act in the interests of the greater good.  That is what tax payers expect when they pay your huge wages!  Judging by the scale of opposition to neonicotinoids in France, no doubt that is what French voters are wanting too.


1. Also, see: Objection pursuant to Rule 106: Maximum residue levels for sulfoxaflor:

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leafcutter bee on sweet pea plant sweet peas for bees