‘Apiculture and Bee Health’ Working Group
Mariya Gabriel MEP and Chair of the working group on “Apiculture and Bee Health” of the EP Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Sustainable Development” gathered MEPs on the 4th of February in the European Parliament, Strasbourg to discuss the 5th edition of the European Week of the Bee and Pollination, which is taking place 13-17 June 2016 in Brussels. She recalled that the working group aims to “ensure that beekeeping and bee health remain on the European agenda, as well as promote initiatives and projects, which allows awareness-raising for policy-makers and citizens, and to be proactive in addressing the challenges of the beekeeping sector“.
The meeting featured a presentation by Pierre Testu, Réseau Biodiversité pour les Abeilles, who presented a short background to the European Week of the Bee and Pollination. It was stressed that its spirit is the exchange of views that takes place with all stakeholders including scientists, beekeepers, farmers, policy-makers, MEPs, NGOs, and international agencies. The European Week of the Bee and Pollination was established in 2012 and will celebrate its 5th anniversary with a series of events including a scientific symposium on 13 June followed by a high-level conference in the European Parliament on 14 June. The Bee Village will also return to the Parliament Esplanade along with an exhibition inside the Parliament, a movie screening, and a Beekeeper-Farmer Forum.
The Chair called for the creation of a task force of MEPs to prepare for this established and key event on the European agenda and to invite beekeepers and farmers from across Europe to participate. MEPs from Bulgaria, Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Croatia, United Kingdom, and Slovenia participated and agreed to create the task force.
The discussion also highlighted various topics, which should be raised at the upcoming edition including cooperation between beekeepers and farmers, pesticides, the impacts of climate change on bees and pollinators, imports of honey and beehive products from outside Europe, mortality rates, and reproduction of queen bees. Moreover, MEPs agreed to consult with beekeepers from their regions in order to highlight further priorities. The summary report and presentation of the first half of the working group meeting can be found here.
The second half of the meeting welcomed representatives Coralie van Breukelen-Groeneveld and Christian Maus to present the Bayer Bee Care Programme. It was underlined by the Chair that even though the views of industry and beekeepers often differ it is important to provide a multi-stakeholder platform for dialogue. The full summary report of the presentation along with the discussion that followed can be found here.