The European Commission said on Monday it would go ahead and impose a temporary ban on three of the world's most widely used pesticides because of fears they harm bees, despite EU governments failing to agree on the issue.
In a vote on Monday, EU officials could not decide whether to impose a two-year ban - with some exceptions - on a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, produced mainly by Germany's Bayer and Switzerland's Syngenta.
The Commission proposed the ban in January after EU scientists said the chemicals posed an acute risk to honeybees, which pollinate many of the crops grown commercially in Europe. It said it would go ahead with partial restrictions anyway.
Pesticide manufacturers and some scientists say no link has been proven between the use of neonicotinoids and a sharp decline in bee numbers in Europe in recent years - a phenomenon known as "colony collapse disorder".