EU proposal to limit pesticides threatening bee population meets opposition from member states

An attempt to protect Europe's bee population appears to have kicked up a hornets' nest.

On Thursday, the EU's commissioner for health and consumer policy, Tonio Borg, discussed with the bloc's 27 countries his proposal to restrict use of three pesticides — called nenicotinoids — to crops that bees dislike. The policy would take effect July 1 and be reviewed after two years.

Frederic Vincent, a spokesman for Borg, confirmed that some countries reacted unenthusiastically, preferring further study. He declined to identify them.

Marco Contiero of the environmental group Greenpeace said Britain was firmly opposed, and Germany and Spain were either opposed or wanted more time to consider.

The European Food Safety Authority says beekeepers have reported an unusual decline in bees over the past decade, particularly in Western Europe.