Image seen from above. A man with pesticide containers in his hand stands beside a tractor in a field.

Pesticide lobby and right-wingers sabotage pesticide reduction law. Calamity for farmers, citizens, environment.

Brussels, 22 November 2023 -  The pesticide reduction law SUR was voted down in the European Plenary session today in Strasbourg.

Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) published a report this week, exposing the latest lobby attempts to derail this law. CEO exposed the irresponsible lobby attacks on the pesticide reduction target since the beginning: from misleading 'impact studies' leading creating delay, to attempts to water down the law in every way possible.

The SUR was one key law that was highly needed to save ecosystems that our food security and indeed survival is dependent on. 6.000 scientists expressed their support for both the pesticide reduction law and the Nature Restoration Law as essential for food security in the long term.

This move was preceded by a thorough watering down of the law, which was celebrated by EPP MEPs like Peter Liese who clearly could not care less about a future for next generations. The Conservative group was aided by numerous members of the Liberals (Renew) in these scandalous moves. Rapporteur Sarah Wiener, who had made a brave attempt to save this law, testified after the vote how she was threatened and intimidated while negotiating this law.

Nina Holland, researcher at CEO, comments: "This is a very dark day. A majority of MEPs today have bought into a years-long, misleading campaign set up by the pesticide industry, notably Croplife Europe with its members Bayer, BASF, Syngenta and Corteva. These people are not serving the common interest of people and the environment in Europe."

"The industry lobby campaign and its political allies against the pesticide reduction law is as irresponsible and scandalous as manufacturing doubt on tobacco smoke, or outright denying climate change. Never has it been more clear that the Toxic Lobby by these chemical and pesticide corporations should be kept away from decision making spaces. Our health and our future, that relies on intact ecosystems, are more important than the profits of these 4 companies."


For more information, contact:

Nina Holland, Corporate Europe Observatory researcher: (+32) (0) 466 294 420

Notes to the editor:

  •  In 2022, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) published a report on how the pesticide lobby tried to delay and derail the new pesticide reduction law (SUR): “A loud lobby for a silent spring - The pesticide industry's toxic lobbying tactics against Farm to Fork”.
  • The updated article published today is based on hundreds of documents obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to the European Commission and the 27 permanent representations, submissions to EU consultation, the monitoring of lobby events and corporate-sponsored media content, and personal communication with the actors involved. Read the full article here.
  • 1.1 million people have supported a European Citizens’ Initiative calling for a very ambitious pesticide reduction and support for farmers to achieve this.
  • CEO has tracked the attacks on the Farm to Fork Strategy, and notably the pesticide reduction law, since the start of the Von der Leyen Commission in 2019 (see here, and here).

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