Agriculture Committee urged the Commission and Member states to take coordinated action to save bees

The Agriculture Committee at the European Parliament called for EU-wide action to save bees. This demand is done having regard that an estimated 84% of plant species and 76% of food production in Europe depend on pollination by bees. MEPs ask to step up investment in research and increasing funding for apiculture programmes after 2013.

MEPs called on the Commission and Member states to step up their efforts to help bees and beekeepers to survive, because rising bee mortality could devastate EU food production and environmental stability. Agriculture Committee also asks for boosting financial aid for apiculture under the new CAP after 2013, increasing support for coordinated research, encouraging information sharing and providing adequate training for beekeepers, farmers and veterinarians. In 2010, the Commission already increased the support to this sector for the 2011 to 2013 period.

According to the Committee, the beekeeping sector provides income, directly or indirectly, for more than 600,000 EU citizens. An estimated 84% of plant species and 76% of food production in Europe depends on pollination by bees. However, there is a lack of reliable data to stemming bee mortality. MEPs want to see national surveillance systems put in place and harmonised standards developed at EU level for data collection in order to get more accurate information on current bee health problems and allow better comparison.

On the other hand, MEPs also welcomed a Commission's proposal to revise animal health legislation and called for more funding for EU veterinary policy, so that bee diseases such as varroasis can be fought more effectively. They also called the pharmaceutical industry to offer incentives to develop new medicines for bees, and recommend spending more money on field-testing them in Member States.