(NW) Prosecution to Review All Bee Poisonings Alerts in Pleven Region Since 2018

June 23 (BTA) – The Appellate Prosecution in Veliko Turnovo, North Central Bulgaria, has ordered a review of all alerts submitted by beekeepers in connection with mass poisonings of bee colonies in the region of Pleven between 2018 and 2020. So far no pretrial proceedings have been opened. The District Prosecution in Pleven has been tasked with reviewing all case files which have been dismissed, while the Appellate Prosecution will review all decrees to uphold the refusals. According to Euractiv.bg, the prosecution is rechecking alerts about bee poisonings after the website published an investigation by journalist Valya Ahchieva, titled “The Unpunished Poisoners of Bees”. According to Ahchieva, bees in the region of Pleven have been dying for three consecutive years, which is a tragedy for local beekeepers. Farmers spray corn with products banned in the EU and the pesticides kill the bees as well as birds, animals and reptiles. Tests by an accredited European laboratory have found traces of these toxic substances. Experts claim that these substances are harmful to people as well but the Bulgarian authorities have done nothing, according to the investigation. The regional office of the Bulgarian Foods Safety Agency in Pleven has not alerted the prosecution and the Agriculture Ministry has done nothing. The prosecution have refused to probe the alerts because the prosecutors have not found any crime. The investigation of Euractiv.bg has linked the disaster to grain growing company Oktopod Invest Holding. Through its subsidies, the holding is Bulgaria’s largest receiver of EU single area payments. Last week, the European Commission said that Oktopod Invest Holding received 11 million euro in EU subsidies in 2019 and warned that the company may lose the money if the investigation establishes the use of banned pesticides, writes Euractiv.bg. After the mass bee poisoning in May beekeepers also urged for suspension of subsidies for grain growers who break the rules. However, Agriculture Minister Desislava Taneva said that until now attempts of the authorities to suspend subsidies have failed because of the specifics of the EU regulatory framework. LN/PP /СН/