By Barbara Lewis and Charlie Dunmore
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission is considering law to ban pesticides linked to the decline of bees, a spokesman said on Friday.
A report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) earlier this month said three widely-used pesticides made by Switzerland's Syngenta and Germany's Bayer posed an acute risk to honeybees.
"We could advocate measures. The Commission is looking at all the facts and the responses from the companies," its health spokesman Frederic Vincent said on Friday.
"We have to take into account what is feasible and what could be the time-table, so we're not in a rush, but we will have to reflect on this issue. The planting season is a bit further down the road."
Fears about the effects on bees of neonicotinoid insecticides - among the most commonly-used crop pesticides - led France to withdraw approval in June last year for Syngenta's Cruiser OSR, used to treat rapeseed crops.
Other EU states - Germany, Slovenia and the Netherlands - have introduced restrictions on pesticides and calls have got louder for EU-wide action. Options include banning some substances for some crops, rather than a blanket ban.
"It's time now for the Commission to act," said British Liberal Democrat politician Chris Davies, a member of the European Parliament, which debated honeybees this week.
RISK OF INACTION
EU scientific advisers, the European Environment Agency (EEA), which analyses data and evidence to guide policymakers, issued a report this week on the risks industry and governments take through reluctance to act on early evidence.
Among the case studies the EEA report assesses is the slow policy response to evidence neonicotinoids harm bees.
French beekeepers reported worrying bee behavior after the use of neonicotinoids to treat sunflower seeds in 1994. They said bees were found disorientated or dead in front of their hives. Continued...