Proposal to protect bees stirs hornets' nest in Europe

The European Union health and consumer policy commissioner's proposal for limiting certain pesticides on crops met with a lukewarm response.

BRUSSELS  — An attempt to protect Europe's bee population appears to have kicked up a hornets' nest.

On Thursday, the EU's commissioner for health and consumer policy, Tonio Borg, discussed with the bloc's 27 countries his proposal to restrict use of three pesticides — called nenicotinoids — to crops that bees dislike. The policy would take effect July 1 and be reviewed after two years.

Frederic Vincent, a spokesman for Borg, confirmed that some countries reacted unenthusiastically, preferring further study. He declined to identify them.

Marco Contiero of the environmental group Greenpeace said Britain was firmly opposed, and Germany and Spain were either opposed or wanted more time to consider.

The European Food Safety Authority says beekeepers have reported an unusual decline in bees over the past decade, particularly in Western Europe.

——

MSN News on Facebook and Twitter

Stay up to date on breaking news and current events.

Friend us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/news.msn

Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/msnnews