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EU mulls action to halt decline of pollinators

12 January 2018, 17:56 CET
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EU mulls action to halt decline of pollinators

Image © Budimir Jevtic - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Commission launched a consultation Thursday on a European initiative to halt the decline of bees and other pollinators, warning that future generations would pay a heavy price if the EU fails to act.

Wild pollinators such as bees, butterflies and many other insects pollinate crops and wild plants, so that they can bear fruit and seed.

An estimated EUR 15 billion of annual EU agricultural output is directly attributed to pollinators.

"Scientists have warned us of steep pollinator decline across Europe," said Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella: "We have a good understanding of declines for some pollinators while there are knowledge gaps for others. But it is beyond doubt that it is time to act. If we do not, we and our future generations would pay a very heavy price indeed."

The EU's Agriculture Commissioner added: "Pollinators are too important for our food security and farming communities – as well as for life on the planet. We cannot afford to continue losing them."

A mid-term review of the EU 2020 biodiversity strategy showed that pollination might be significantly decreasing.

Almost 1 in 10 bee and butterfly species is facing extinction, according to the European Red List.

To tackle the decline, the Commission is looking to develop a European initiative on pollinators and calls on scientists, farmers and businesses, environmental organisations, public authorities and citizens to contribute.

The consultation will remain open until 5 April 2018.

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