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Presentation of special aspects of Slovenian agriculture in the light of the upcoming new legislation on the sustainable use of plant protection products

As part of the new EU legislation to be adopted on the sustainable use of plant protection products, a European Commission delegation headed by Deputy Director-General for Health and Food Safety Claire Bury visited Slovenia at the invitation of Minister Irena Šinko.
The Minister and the Deputy Minister stand in front of the castle.

Minister Irena Šinko and Deputy Director-General for Health and Food Safety Claire Bury. | Author Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food

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The purpose of the visit was for the European Commission delegates to familiarise themselves with issues related to the fulfilment of obligations in the field, as set out in the proposed Regulation. During the visit between 19 and 21 April, the delegation learned about the situation in Slovenia, specific cases in the field demonstrating that Slovenia is already fulfilling numerous obligations and the fact that the proposed Regulation would have a very negative effect on agriculture and rural development as well as food security. The visit took place in the Natura 2000 areas of the Vipava Valley and Karst, where the predominant activity is wine-growing, the intensive agricultural area of the Ljubljana Marshes, and the water protection area in the vicinity of Jablje.

The proposed Regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products, published in June 2022, pursues two aims announced in the farm-to-fork strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system, namely to reduce the use of and risk from plant protection products by 50% and to reduce the use of and risk from more hazardous plant protection products by 50% by 2030.

The proposal was presented at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in July 2022 and is currently being discussed at the level of the Council’s Working Group on Pesticides. As the legislative proposal was being drafted, several member states, including Slovenia, called attention to problematic aspects of the announced proposal. These include the lack of effective alternatives to chemical plant protection products and the disregard for the structure and intensity of a member state’s agricultural production in the set aims. The biggest issue is a complete ban on the use of all plant protection products in sensitive areas, which would affect 40% of Slovenia’s utilised agricultural areas, as Slovenia already highlighted at three bilateral meetings with the Commission.

The visit of the Commission representatives also included a meeting with the representatives of agricultural NGOs, who had the opportunity to acquaint the Commission with their opinions on the proposed Regulation and hear their responses.