The European Parliament on Wednesday rejected a plan to cut back reliance on pesticides in agriculture in another setback in Europe-wide efforts to protect the environment.
With 299 votes against the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products Regulation (SUR), 207 in favor, and 121 abstentions, MEPs rejected a package of draft legislation that had been negotiated intensely for months.
"I could not have imagined that the entire draft legislation would have ended up trampled into the ground like this, it is a bitter disappointment, for biodiversity, for our health and our children's health," Greens party rapporteur Sarah Wiener told a news conference.
Wiener said the right had worked with the extreme right to help agro-industry lobbyists ditch the legislation.
The parliament's Greens/EFA group said in a statement that the text had been so watered down in crucial areas that in the end it was not good enough for anyone to support it.
"Beyond adopting meaningless reduction targets, they also removed the protection for kindergartens, schools, hospitals, and old people homes... and deleted binding rules for integrated pest management, which would have been an important tool to implement sustainable practices in agriculture," it said.
A proposal to refer SUR back to the parliament's environment committee was also rejected.
The conservative European People's Party (EPP) said the rejection was a positive outcome.
"Today, the European Parliament rejected the extremist approach of the Greens and Socialists to impose more and more bans and excessive regulations that would reduce food production in Europe," EPP said in a statement.
The failed pesticides plan is the latest in a series of setbacks for green legislation across Europe, which is facing a growing "greenlash" pushback against policies to address climate change and protect the environment.
The latest major setback was the European Commission's decision last week to renew approval for the controversial weedkiller glyphosate for another decade.