The EESC issues between 160 and 190 opinions and information reports a year.
It also organises several annual initiatives and events with a focus on civil society and citizens’ participation such as the Civil Society Prize, the Civil Society Days, the Your Europe, Your Say youth plenary and the ECI Day.
The EESC brings together representatives from all areas of organised civil society, who give their independent advice on EU policies and legislation. The EESC's326 Members are organised into three groups: Employers, Workers and Various Interests.
The EESC has six sections, specialising in concrete topics of relevance to the citizens of the European Union, ranging from social to economic affairs, energy, environment, external relations or the internal market.
The Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (hereinafter "the SUD") – the subject of this information report – was adopted in 2009 with the aim of reducing the risk and impact of pesticide use on human health and the environment. Integrated pest management, just like other pest management practices with low pesticide inputs, alongside organic farming, is one of the key elements of the directive, as it includes actions such as crop rotation, pest surveillance and the application of non-chemical pest control methods and other lower-risk pesticides.
Bearing in mind the factors listed above, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) believes it would be useful to carry out a review of the roadmap contained in the current SUD, including an impact assessment and stakeholder consultation.
In particular, we consider it essential to reassess the requirements, targets, conditions and timetables set under national action plans, with the ultimate aim of reducing the risks and effects of pesticide use, both for human and animal health and to ensure the healthy condition and conservation of ecosystems.
The evaluation presented by the EESC in this information report is based primarily on the views and opinions of civil society organisations gathered during fact-finding trips to a number of EU Member States (Bulgaria, Croatia, Spain, Ireland and Sweden), and on the responses to the online questionnaire developed for this purpose. In particular, stakeholders were asked to state their views on the effectiveness and relevance of EU legislation on pesticide use, and on the level of their involvement in the development and implementation of the legislation.
The current SUD has proven to be effective in achieving better utilization of plant protection products (PPPs).
While European farmers remain strongly committed to moving towards more sustainable agricultural practices, they need to have profitable alternatives and solutions at the same time.
Alternative solutions should be affordable to farmers, in orderfor them to continue producing food and supply the European and world population with healthy, safe, quality products and at good prices.
The new Directive must start from a holistic approach and be ambitious enough to ensure that no party falls behind in that common goal of achieving a cleaner and more sustainable Europe.