Dutch Competent Authority declines capacity-building grant for assessment of biocides and pesticides

The Dutch Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides (Ctgb) has decided not to accept the EC grant for 'Capacity-building of Member States to assess and remove unsafe biocides and pesticides'. The Ctgb fully acknowledges the issues addressed by the grant and thanks the European Commission (EC) for their efforts to support the Member States. The EC aims for Competent Authorities that have operations based on full cost recovery. The Ctgb believes that it has already achieved these aims, but agrees that capacity building is important for other competent authorities. This would enable more equal distribution of the joint workload across Europe. The Ctgb has therefore decided to decline the grant, which would leave more funding available for other Member States to enhance their assessment capacity. To illustrate the unbalanced workload between the competent authorities, the Ctgb notes that 60 new active substances for plant protection are currently under consideration in the EU, of which the Ctgb is now assessing more than half.

Regarding the EC ambition of full cost recovery, the Ctgb charges applicants for all the hours that its staff works on an assessment (2023: €159 per hour). This makes it easier to establish a relationship between workload and staffing. In its response to the EC, the Ctgb emphasised that the joint workload appears to be growing faster than the corresponding growth in capacity of the Member State Competent Authorities. This shortfall is partly due to the increasing complexity of the assessment framework, which exacerbates the capacity problem in Europe and underlines the need to take action.