(BRUSSELS) – The European Commission decided Wednesday to register a European Citizens’ Initiative entitled ‘Save the bees! Protection of biodiversity and improvement of habitats for insects in Europe’.
European Citizens’ Initiatives are an agenda-setting tool, and once an initiative gathers 1 million signatures, the Commission has to decide on what follow-up action to take.
The organisers of this initiative call on the Commission to ‘adopt legislation to maintain and improve habitats for insects as indicators of an undamaged environment’.
The Citizens’ Initiative focuses on the creation of mandatory targets ‘to make the promotion of biodiversity an overall objective of the common agricultural policy; to dramatically cut the use of pesticides, ban harmful pesticides without exception and reform eligibility criteria; to promote structural diversity in agricultural landscapes; to effectively reduce nutrients (e.g. Natura 2000); to effectively establish conservation areas; to intensify research and monitoring and improve education.’
Under the Treaties, the EU can take legal action in areas such as the internal market, agricultural policy as well as the protection of public health and the quality of the environment. The Commission has now considered the initiative legally admissible and decided to register it.
The EU executive stresses it has not analysed the substance of the initiative at this stage.
The registration of this initiative will take place on 27 May, the beginning of a one-year process of collection of signatures of support by its organisers.
Should the initiative receive one million statements of support within 1 year, from at least 7 different EU Member States, the Commission will have to react within 3 months. The Commission can decide either to follow the request or not, and in both instances would be required to explain its reasoning.