Substances used in pesticides – neonicotinoids clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam – are killing bees and other pollinators, according to a new report published by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA).

This is why the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) is calling for a ban of these neonicotinoids and other dangerous substances proven to be noxious to bee populations.

Momchil Nekov, S&D spokesperson on this report, said: “The bees provide a major agricultural service – pollination, without which, European agriculture would not be as we know it. There are numerous threads for their existence. The use of some active substances which are known to be harmful to bees, as well as the increase of pests and diseases, are among the major challenges the sector is facing. In the report, we demand stronger support for the sector, with a 50% increase of the budget for national programmes for apiculture, so that these challenges can be better tackled. More funding for research and for the training of beekeepers will also benefit the sector.”

According to Nekov, honey is one of the most counterfeited products in the world. In fact, one third of the honey sold in the EU today is adulterated.

“Right now the labelling is very vague,” he said. “So in order to tackle honey adulteration and fraudulent imports, especially from China, we demand clearer labelling including both the origin by country – not just EU or non-EU- and the percentage from every country.”

S&D’s spokesperson on agriculture, Eric Andrieu, said: “In some parts of Europe, the bee mortality rate goes up to 80%. We must act urgently: we are short of 13m hives to satisfy the pollination of crops in Europe. The repopulation of bees demands the restoration of ecosystems and the progressive ban of pesticides in agriculture. Ultimately, we must be able to reach zero-pesticide agriculture.”