In France, Stéphane Le Foll, Minister of Agriculture restated his opposition to neonicotinoids ban on January 18, 2016 at the presentation of the beekeeping new sustainable development plan (in French):
“There are topics related to neonicotinoids and agrochemical issues. First I integrate this in the general approach related to agrochemicals. I do not seek to separate them. For Neonicotinoids an Opinion from Anses was issued, which was sent to the Ministers of Agriculture, of Health and of Environment. We will work on this Opinion. But for example, if I apply immediately Anses recommendations, it would be completely contradictory especially with crop rotation issues since if we use a year seed coated with neonicotinoids in a field, the year after honey crops cannot be sown. It would mean that at that time I limit my rotation capabilities. So I need to take some time and discuss how we can reduce the use of neonicotinoids, ensure that it is compatible with beekeeping production because a lot has been done at EU level thanks to France. But we need to continue to pursue because we know that there are important issues and we can continue only if we offer ways to farmers to be able to take this kind of choice. Because if there are no alternatives, if there are no other solution than the ban, I end up with farmers who, rightly say: but we are losing our production. And if we lose our production we lose our goal so it is not acceptable. That is why we will set up a working group, which will incorporate the issue of neonicotinoids and then more generally the agrochemicals.” Stéphane Le Foll
Furthermore, on 22 January 2016, the Senate rejected several amendments aimed at a total ban of neonicotinoids. The amendment voted recommends that it is the Minister of Agriculture who would determine by Order the conditions of use of neonicotinoids taking into account Anses Opinion (see our article of 21 January 2016: ANSES recommends strengthening the conditions of use of Neonicotinoids).
This text is to be adopted within three months following the promulgation of the Biodiversity law.
The draft law was adopted by the Senate on 26 January 2018 (in French).
It must now undergo a second reading in the National Assembly.