what was at stake
green position
what we achieved
what we did not achieve

Hazardous substances in pesticides

The authorisation of biocidal products was regulated by a Directive adopted in 1998. Ten years later, the Commission decided to review that text, to improve the safety of biocides.

It proposed adopting a more general approach towards excluding the approval of active substances with certain properties and also extending the exclusion criteria to cover certain substances, so-called endocrine disrupters, which affect living organisms' hormone system.

The Commission also suggested extending the scope of a new Regulation to finished goods treated with biocides (so-called 'treated articles') and entrusting the relatively young European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) with the authorisation of certain biocidal products (based on new active substances or low-risk products).


What was the Greens' position?

The Greens argued that the proposed Regulation should include meaningful environmental exclusion criteria for active substances and endocrine disrupters because we wanted to limit the possibilities for derogations.

We also called for national safeguards to modify the conditions of use set out in authorisations.

We wanted specific provisions on nanomaterials, of which nanosilver is the most widely used in consumer products.

The Greens also called for the improved labelling of treated articles and for the application of the Regulation shortly after its entry into force.

Finally, we wanted the rules on biocides to fully respect EU legislation on water.


Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?

The Greens succeeded in ensuring that biocidal substances can be excluded on environmental grounds.

We also managed to tighten the criteria for excluding endocrine disrupters, add some additional criteria for derogations, create national safeguards for the authorisation of biocidal products, and ensure the inclusion of comprehensive provisions governing nanomaterials, ranging from their assessment to their labelling.

We also improved the labelling of treated articles and successfully pushed for adequate transitional measures and better cross-links with water legislation.


Which points did the Greens lose?
Parliament as a whole proved unable to make the Council accept that both institutions should have the same power to veto the approval of active substances. During the first reading, the EPP, ALDE and ECR defended the industry's interests by shortening the deadline ECHA would have to evaluate applications for authorisations of certain biocidal products and deleting the requirement that companies should pay an annual fee to ECHA. This outcome will reduce the agency's financial resources and risk undermining its effectiveness.
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Procedure:Ordinary legislative procedure


Lead MEP:Christa Klaß (MEP)

Green MEP responsible:Michèle Rivasi


Staff contact:Axel Singhofen (Email)

Outcome of the vote
Below you find the results of the final vote in plenary. How did the political groups vote? What about national delegations? And what was the position of your MEP?