Members' Research Service By / November 29, 2022

Sustainable use of plant protection products [EU Legislation in Progress][Policy podcast]

Plant protection products (PPPs) are pesticides used to: protect plants or plant products against pests/diseases, before or after harvest; influence the life processes of plants; preserve plant products; or destroy or prevent growth of undesired plants or parts of plants.

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Written by Vivienne Halleux (2nd edition, updated on 17.11.2023).

Under the farm to fork strategy, part of the European Green Deal, the EU has set itself a double target: a 50 % reduction in the overall use of and risk from chemical plant protection products, and a 50 % reduction in the use of more hazardous ones by 2030. The proposal for a regulation tabled by the European Commission on 22 June 2022, which would replace the 2009 sustainable use directive, would require Member States to contribute collectively to achieving these EU-wide targets through the adoption and attainment of binding national targets. To protect biodiversity and citizens’ health, the use of all plant protection products would be banned in specific, sensitive areas, with limited derogations. Monitoring and reporting obligations would be strengthened.

Stakeholders are strongly divided on the proposal. While environmental organisations are pushing for more ambition, the farming community is concerned about the lack of alternatives for farmers, the broad coverage of sensitive areas, and consequences for business continuity. Indicators used to track progress towards the targets are also subject to criticisms from various sides.

In Parliament, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), responsible for the file, adopted its report on 24 October 2023, substantially amending the Commission text. The report awaits a vote in plenary during the November II session, with a view to setting Parliament’s position for negotiations with the Council. The Council has still to agree on a general approach.


Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the sustainable use of plant protection products and amending Regulation (EU) 2021/2115
Committee responsible:Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI)COM(2022) 305
Rapporteur:Sarah Wiener (Greens/EFA, Austria)2022/0196(COD)
Shadow rapporteurs:Alexander Bernhuber (EPP, Austria)
Maria Arena (S&D, Belgium)
Jan Huitema (Renew, the Netherlands)
Alexandr Vondra (ECR, Czechia)
Anja Hazekamp (The Left, the Netherlands)
Ordinary legislative procedure (COD)
(Parliament and Council on equal footing
– formerly ‘co-decision’)
Next steps expected: Plenary vote on committee report

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