BRUSSELS (AFP) - The European Commission received the go-ahead on Monday to slap a two-year ban across the European Union on the use of pesticides blamed for a sharp decline in bee populations, an EU diplomat said.
A key committee cleared the way for the European Union executive to implement a two-year moratorium on three pesticides that is expected to enter into force late this year, a diplomat told AFP.
Countries opposed to the ban, including Britain and Hungary, failed to muster enough support to block it, with 15 nations, including France, voting in favour, France's EU delegation said on Twitter.
Germany, which in a previous vote had abstained and was under sharp pressure from pharmaceutical firms and farmers to oppose the proposal, also voted in favour, a diplomat said.
Bees account for 80 per cent of plant pollination by insects, vital to global food production.
Without them, many crops would be unable to bear fruit or would have to be pollinated by hand.
Pesticide producers Bayer of Germany and Switzerland's Sygenta, the top player on the global agrichemical market, have rejected claims that their products are at fault in the fall of bee numbers and say studies behind the suggested ban are based on flawed science.