The New York Times recently published an article, Europe Bans Pesticides Thought Harmful to Bees, detailing the EU's decision to proceed with a two-year ban on three neonicotinoid insecticides thought harmful to bees – clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam.
The proposed restriction on the three neonicotinoids was voted on by the EU Member States but failed to reach a qualified majority, leaving the decision up to the Commission. Tonio Borg, the EU's Health and Consumer Commissioner, announced that the EU will move forward with the ban, stating:
Since our proposal is based on a number of risks to bee health identified by the European Food Safety Authority, the Commission will go ahead with its text in the coming weeks. […] I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over €22 billion annually to European agriculture, are protected.
A European Union press release summarizes the main elements of the proposed ban. Restrictions will apply from December 1, 2013.