Pesticides: the President of the Senate gives formal notice to the lobbyist Phytéis
It’s a first. The President of the Senate Gérard Larcher “gave formal notice” on Wednesday…
It’s a first. The President of the Senate Gérard Larcher “gave formal notice” on Wednesday lobbyist Phytéiswhich represents 19 pesticide manufacturers, for having “failed in its duty of probity” in its contacts with senators, the Upper House announced in a press release.
The President of the Senate “puts Phytéis on notice to respect the ethical obligations to which lobbyists are subject “, According to the press release. This procedure does not entail a criminal sanction, but is made public, according to the practice of “name and shame”, which aims to publicly name the actors failing in their obligations.
This is the first time that this procedure has been implemented in Parliament since its creation by the “Sapin II” law of December 9, 2016.
A report from an eco-friendly MP
The formal notice follows a report by environmental senator Joël Labbé and four ***ociations (Transparency International France, Friends of the Earth France, Foodwatch France and the Veblen Institute). “Our organizations have played their watchdog role”, they reacted on Wednesday in a statementwelcoming a decision sending a “strong signal against all lobbies”.
“Phytéis did not hesitate to use employment blackmail based on a fanciful methodology to protect its business, in defiance of public health and the environment”, they add, considering that this formal notice public constitutes “a precedent”.
When examining the Covenant bill (action plan for business growth and transformation), Phytéis had contacted several senators between November 2018 and February 2019 “to be able to continue to produce, store and circulate in France pesticides banned in the European Union”. According to the lobbyist, the banning of these products threatened 2,700 direct jobs and more than 1,000 indirect jobs. The authors of the report suspected “employment blackmail”, with “a very exaggerated estimate of the number of jobs threatened”.
A “lack of rigor and prudence”
The investigations were entrusted to the Senate Ethics Committee, chaired by Arnaud Bazin (LR), which met on April 4 after having questioned Phytéis in writing. “At the end of these investigations, it appears that Phytéis lacked rigor and prudence in its contacts with the senators”, according to the press release, as the lobbyist was unable to explain his ***essment of the number of jobs at risk. “Moreover, Phytéis did not consider it necessary to inform senators of the ***umptions and uncertainties surrounding its ***essment, which had direct consequences on the drafting of the law,” he adds.
During the examination in the Senate of the Pacte bill, amendments were adopted to remove a measure prohibiting the production, storage and circulation of certain plant protection products provided for by the Egalim law of October 30, 2018. Rewritten at the National ***embly, these amendments had finally been censured by the Constitutional Council as “legislative horseman” (unrelated to the text). The prohibition measure therefore entered into force on January 1, 2022, as provided for by the Egalim law.