11.03.2016 Author: F. William Engdahl

EU Commission Pesticide Procedure Ruled Illegal

3453453454It’s little wonder that people like many of those in the UK want to get out of the European Union. It is rapidly evolving into a concentration of corruption that rivals that of Kiev or of the Roman Empire in the Fourth Century. The most recent instance to come to light has to do with the European Commission Directorate General for Health and Food Safety, known as DG SANTE. A recent ruling by the official EU Ombudsman Office found that DG SANTE procedures for approving chemical pesticides is anything but healthy.

If one is in a senior position of responsibility for decisions that affect the health and safety of some 508 million citizens living in the European Union members states, that one or those ones we would like to believe take the moral nature of that powerful position very, very seriously.

Well, it may shock you but the ones, the faceless bureaucrats running policy today in the EU DG SANTE it seems literally don’t give a shit, as the French would say, about the moral implications of their decisions.

‘Maladministration’ or criminal behavior?

On February 18, 2016 the EU Ombudsman issued a ruling declaring that the practice of EU Commission health service, DG SANTE, to approve pesticides despite the fact that important safety data are missing, is a case of maladministration.

There is even a fancy name to cover this “maladministration” practice, revealing how ingrained it has become. It’s known as the so-called “confirmatory data procedure” (CDP).

Right there we begin to smell a strong stench. The DG SANTE’s Confirmatory Data Procedure is to approve untested pesticides without having “confirmatory data.” That’s the so-called procedure.

According to a detailed report by the private watchdog group, Pesticide Action Network (PAN), CDP in practice has meant CDP pesticides could be approved with serious data gaps and with high risks, allowing industry to submit additional information only in future, or never. PAN documented back in 2012 that the CDP procedure was used as standard procedure by SANCO, the EU’s Directorate General for Health and Consumer Affairs, placing the public and the environment at unknown and potentially serious health risks.

Almost three years after Hans Muilerman, on behalf of Pesticide Action Network Europe, filed a complaint with the Office of Emily O’Reilly, European Ombudsman, O’Reilly, the Ombudsman now concludes that these practices were unlawful in the past and currently not restricted as legally required. She concluded in her ruling that the “Commission may be too lenient in its practices and might not be taken sufficiently account of the precautionary principle,” declaring in the ruling that all required data should be present before a decision is taken–chemical industry gaping loophole closed.

Only a tiny step, but a step

It is not a clear 100% victory for human health and safety from toxic pesticide contamination, only a tiny step. The Ombudsman also ruled that DG SANTE must prove in a report to the Ombudsman that they have implemented the changes. The report is not due for two years from today’s ruling, giving the pesticide industry lobby–Bayer, Syngenta, Monsanto and such–ample time to find a way around what should be a clear directive.

One of the most brazen cases documented in the EU Ombudsman’s decision was the finding that even when the European Food Safety Authority, EFSA, calculated high risks based on the available scientific evidence, DG SANTE in several cases approved the pesticide involved, nonetheless.

The Ombudsman writes, it is “difficult to understand how the Commission could legitimately decide…that these substances have no harmful effect or no unacceptable influence on the environment, and that a satisfactory explanation has not been provided by Commission.”  Many of these high risks concern the environment, such as birds.

O’Reilly concluded that in their reports and decisions DG SANTE tried to hide the high risks and data gaps observed by EFSA and then claimed to the public that the pesticides are safe. The Ombudsman O’Reilly’s ruling went to state that the EU Commission’s DG SANTE, the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety, had approved as safe “active substances for (pesticides) where the legal requirements are not met, in particular because of insufficient data” which allowed the faceless bureaucrats of DG SANTE to “exclude risks for human health, animal health, groundwater and the environment.”

The EU Ombudsman writes that the “Ombudsman could understand the complaintant’s impression that the Commission’s review reports and approval decisions are misleading and inaccurate.” 

The faceless bureaucrat responsible

That dear EU Ombudsman is an understatement. It’s useful to put a spotlight on the normally faceless EU bureucrats who normally get away scot-free with literally murder buried within their supranational, protected places of power in Brussels, not answerable to any voters.

The high-ranking faceless EU bureaucrat responsible for the criminal “maladministration” practices of the European Commission’s DG SANTE regarding allowance of unproven pesticides as supposedly safe, even ones that the very liberal pro-industry EFSA has ruled risk-laden is a Spanish-born, Italy and Belgium-educated bureaucrat named Xavier Prats Monné. According to his official bio, his qualifications to make complex rulings on health and safety of pesticides include a degree in social anthropology and later in European Studies.

On their website, Xavier Prats Monné’s DG SANTE states their purpose:

  • protect and improve public health;
  • ensure Europe’s food is safe and wholesome;
  • protect the health and welfare of farm animals;
  • protect the health of crops and forests.

Perhaps a good beginning towards realizing at least some of those aims would be for the proper authorities to bring criminal charges against EU Commissioner Xavier Prats Monné and members of the DG SANTE staff responsible for the criminal misconduct. Oh, but I forgot. Of course the EU Commission is above the law, isn’t it. Pity.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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