The European Commission is proposing to halve the use of chemical pesticides in the Member States by 2030.
Member States must set their own reduction targets and ensure that the EU-wide target of 50% reduction is met.
The Commission considers that the current directive on the sustainable use of pesticides has proved too weak.
The Commission believes that the new rules would reduce the environmental footprint of the EU food system and protect the health of citizens and agricultural workers.
The Commission also proposes a total ban on the use of pesticides in sensitive areas.
Such prohibited areas would be, for example, urban green spaces, playgrounds, sports areas, Natura 2000 protected areas and all areas protected because of endangered pollinators.
EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said in Brussels on Wednesday that the EU intends to provide financial support to farmers.
All costs of the new rules will be borne by farmers from the EU budget for five years.
“We need to reduce the use of chemical pesticides to protect soil, air, food and the health of our citizens,” Kyriakides said.
The Commission proposal will then be referred to the European Parliament and the Council of Member States. It will be negotiated in due course to reconcile the views of the institutions.
It is then up to the Member States to decide on the laws that will implement the objectives of the directive.