FRANCE, Strasbourg. The European Parliament has backed the EU Commission's farm-to-fork strategy in principle, but has not endorsed the targets it sets for the use of pesticides and organic farming.
According to the will of the Brussels authority, chemical pesticides are to be halved by the year 2030 and organic farming is to be expanded to 25% of the total area. A total of 452 MEPs voted yesterday evening in Strasbourg in favor of the resolution, which supports the strategy in principle and various individual demands, 170 voted against.
Specifically, the Parliament backed the Commission's goals of halving agricultural nutrient losses by 2030 and converting ten percent of agricultural land to protect biodiversity. With regard to plant protection, the MEPs also insist on an improvement of the approval procedures and a more intensive monitoring of the application regulations to protect pollinators and biodiversity.
On the "Fit for 55" package, the Parliament calls for "ambitious targets" to be set for emissions from agriculture and related land use. MEPs also want strict criteria to apply to biomass-based renewables. They also urge that natural carbon sinks such as peatlands be restored or their contribution to climate protection be increased.
The Strasbourg representatives also express their views on animal welfare in their resolution, which is not legally binding. They advocate the use of scientifically based animal welfare indicators and greater harmonization of legal requirements. The current EU animal protection law must be examined to determine whether changes are necessary. Parliament is strongly in favor of a gradual phase-out of cage use in EU animal husbandry. In this context, it is made clear that animal products that do not originate from the EU should only be approved if they meet local standards.
With regard to organic farming, MEPs also plead for an expansion of the areas concerned. The goal of the commission is not mentioned however, thus not confirmed. However, initiatives to stimulate demand for organic products are called for.