Agriculture Minister sued by environmental groups for pesticide inaction

Agriculture Minister sued by environmental groups for pesticide inaction
Credit: Belga

Two environmental defence organisations will take Federal Agriculture Minister David Clarinval to court for non-compliance with pesticide regulations following a ruling made by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

On 19 January, the European court indicated that EU Member States could not exempt themselves from bans placed on certain pesticides at the European level.

Despite this, on the same day of the ruling FPS Public Health granted an exception for Indoxacarb – a highly toxic insecticide banned in the EU since 2022. The two parties carrying out the lawsuit, Nature and Progress and Pesticides Action Network (PAN), denounced the waiver on Friday.

Last month, the two NGOs sent a formal notice to the minister asking him to cancel the exception on the basis of the European Court’s judgement. The groups said that their correspondence went unanswered, leading to their decision to sue the minister.

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“The health of citizens and the quality of their environment must be a priority for our policies, especially when we know that many alternatives exist to the use of highly toxic pesticides. Our action aims to enforce the judgement of the Court,” explained Julie Van Damme, General Secretary of Nature and Progress Belgium.

Belgium is a massive exporter of chemicals banned within the EU and one of the most pesticide-polluted countries in Europe. High concentrations of pesticides, both legal and illegal, have been found in vegetables and groundwater in regions across the country.

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