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EU votes to ban pesticides linked to bee deaths

EU Commission approves temporary ban on several bee-killing pesticides

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The EU has implemented a two-year moratorium on three pesticides, which are believed to have fatal effects on the nervous system of insects like bees. The vote took place on Monday in Brussels. While the EU member states remain divided on the measure, the EU Commission supported the ban –15 states voted in favor. The nations that voted in favour of the ban were -- Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

The moratorium was prompted by a report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) which identified three neonicotinoids (pesticides) - clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam as posing "high acute risks" to bees. According to the EFSA website, Western and Southern Europe have reported the highest decline to its bee populations.

Following the vote, EU’s health commissioner Tonio Borg said "I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over 22 billion euros annually to European agriculture, are protected.”

Bees play a vital role in agriculture and food production. The majority of crops – 80% grown worldwide are pollinated by bees. Some economists have put a dollar amount on the natural pollination services of insects like bees at roughly $190 billion (145 billion euros).

Leading pesticide providers Bayer of Germany and Switzerland’s Syngenta have rejected claims that some of their products are at fault for bee populations decline, noting that the study behind the ban is based on flawed science.

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