Governed since 1993 by European Directive 91/414/EEC, the assessment of plant protection products and substances evolved in June 2011 with the entry into force of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009. This regulation is part of a set of legislative texts called the "Pesticide Package" that was adopted in October 2009. The main objectives of the new framework are to:
- increase the level of protection of human health, animals and the environment while maintaining the competitiveness of EU agriculture;
- harmonise and simplify procedures within the EU and reduce the time required to examine dossiers;
- increase the free movement of products and their availability in the Member States.
The main features of the Regulation
- more stringent exclusion criteria for the approval of substances (prohibiting the most toxic substances);
- European approval of safeners, synergists and adjuvants according to a procedure similar to that for active substances;
- zonal assessment of products according to three geographical zones: North, Centre and South – with France being in the South Zone - and the mutual recognition of authorisations;
- comparative assessment of products containing substances under consideration at European level for substitution by products containing less hazardous active substances or by non-chemical prevention or control methods.
The Regulation also contains provisions relating to data protection, keeping of records by professionals, parallel trade and seeds treated with plant protection products.
The "Pesticide Package" also includes Directive 2009/128/EC establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides, Directive 2009/127/EC with regard to machinery for pesticide application, and Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 concerning statistics on [the placing on the market and consumption of agricultural] pesticides.