Farmers will not be allowed to spray widely used insecticide blamed for declining bee population.
A widely used insect nerve agent that harms bees will be banned from use on corn and sunflowers in Europe from the end of 2013, after member states overwhelmingly backed the proposal in a vote on Tuesday. However, the UK once again failed to back measures to restrict pesticide use.
Fipronil is used in more than 70 countries and on more than 100 different crops, but in May the European Food Safety Authority labelled it a "high acute risk" to honeybees. A similar assessment by the EFSA on three other neonicotinoid insecticides, based on increasing scientific evidence of harm, also preceded the suspension of their use in the European Union in April.
Tonio Borg, European commissioner for health said: "In the aftermath of the restriction on use of neonicotinoids, I pledged to do my utmost to protect Europe's honey bee population and today's agreement with member states, not only delivers on that pledge but marks another significant step in realising the commission's overall strategy to tackling Europe's bee decline."