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Threat posed by the Asian hornet to biodiversity and European honey

Question écrite de Mme Alessandra MUSSOLINI - Commission européenne

Subject: Threat posed by the Asian hornet to biodiversity and European honey

The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) is an invasive species that poses a serious threat to European biodiversity, with potentially devastating effects. Indeed, it is a voracious predator capable of killing up to 30 bees in a single day. Its behaviour has led to a significant decline in bee populations in some European countries, where it first appeared in 2004.

The Asian hornet is jeopardising the health of Apis mellifera populations, the species of bee present in Italy and responsible for the production of high-quality honey, with major consequences for this agricultural sector and Italy's biodiversity in general.

In view of the new deal for pollinators, on which the European Parliament adopted a resolution on 23 November 2023, can the Commission say:

1. What it is doing to combat the spread of the Asian hornet?

2. What funding is available to address this?

3. What initiatives are being taken to raise public awareness of the threat posed by the Asian hornet?


Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 7 mars 2024

Answer given by Mr Sinkevičius on behalf of the European Commission (8 March 2024)

The Asian hornet Vespa velutina nigrithorax is listed under the regulation on Invasive Alien Species (1) as an invasive alien species (IAS) of Union concern.

This obliges Member States to manage the species and where possible to eradicate it. Together with wider measures as managing pathways of introduction and setting up surveillance, early warning and rapid response measures, this provides a comprehensive framework of measures to manage the species.

Specifically on alien wasp species the Commission has provided guidance to Member States in 2021 on preventing further introductions (2).

The European Alien Species Information Network (3) (EASIN) supports and collaborates with Member States competent authorities by updating the distribution of V. velutina in Europe and disseminating scientific advances on biology and means of containment.

The EU programme for the environment and climate action (4) welcomes proposals on IAS (5) project. Support can also be provided through apiculture sectoral interventions under the Common Agricultural Policy Strategic plans 2023-202 7 (6) for actions to combat bee pests and protect beehives.

Several Member States involve beekeepers in the management of this invasive species, such as Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.

Horizon Europe Programme (7) provides funds innovative research. In its Work Programme 2021-2022 and 2023-2024, a topic on improving the resilience of beekeeping against biotic and abiotic stress (8) and a topic on invasive alien species issues (9) were designed.

1 ∙ ⸱ Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and

spread of invasive alien species, OJ L 317, 4.11.2014, p. 35-55. 2 ∙ ⸱ 3 ∙ ⸱ 4 ∙ ⸱

LIFE, 5 ∙ ⸱

An example of such a project on managing the Asian hornet in Italy is the LIFEVESPA 6 ∙ ⸱ 7 ∙ ⸱ 8 ∙ ⸱ HORIZON-CL6-2022-BIODIV-02-03-two-stage, with a budget of EUR 12 million. 9 ∙ ⸱ HORIZON-CL6-2024-BIODIV-01-1, with a budget of EUR 12 million.

| | ) In addition, the citizen science programme under EASIN includes initiatives to raise awareness and engage citizens on IAS management. Through an app, citizens can can report observations of IAS across the EU.

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