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Alleged failure to take appropriate action addressing increased bee mortality

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  • Case: 0512/2012/BEH
    Opened on 28 Mar 2012 - Decision on 02 Oct 2012
  • Institution(s) concerned: European Commission
  • Field(s) of law: Agriculture
  • Types of maladministration alleged – (i) breach of, or (ii) breach of duties relating to: Lawfulness (incorrect application of substantive and/or procedural rules) [Article 4 ECGAB]
  • Subject matter(s): Institutional and policy matters
Bee
Author:
Copyright: Stocklib ©

Summary of the decision on complaint 512/2012/BEH against the European Commission

The Commission has authorised the use of a number of insecticides, known as neonicotinoids, for plant protection purposes. The relevant regulation provides for a review process concerning the authorisation of substances in case new scientific evidence indicates that they no longer fulfil the approval criteria, for example, because they pose a threat to animal health.

In March 2012, a member of the Austrian Ombudsman Board turned to the European Ombudsman and pointed out that observations from beekeepers, as well as new scientific evidence, suggest that certain neonicotinoids have led to increased bee mortality in recent years. Against this background, the complainant alleged that, despite the availability of new scientific evidence, the Commission failed to take appropriate measures to address the issue of bee mortality that is linked to the use of certain neonicotinoids. The complainant claimed that the Commission should take appropriate measures to address the issue of bee mortality.

In its opinion, the Commission essentially submitted that it was carefully monitoring new scientific developments and, in April 2012, had launched a whole review of the risk assessment of all neonicotinoids to bees, which is being carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The Commission added that the completion of EFSA's assessment is foreseen by 31 December 2012. In his observations, the complainant welcomed the Commission's decision to launch a review and expressed his hope that a positive result regarding the serious issue of bee mortality could be achieved. He also asked the Ombudsman to inform him of the outcome of the review procedure.

In view of the measures taken by the Commission, which include launching a review, and in light of the observations submitted by the complainant, the Ombudsman concluded that the Commission has settled the complaint to the complainant's satisfaction, and therefore closed the case. At the same time, he asked the Commission to inform him of the outcome of its review by 31 March 2013.