Water is a scarce resource throughout the world. The EU has adopted a water directive and a pesticide regulation.
The European Parliament has by a large majority supported a Danish proposal to amend the directive to provide for common minimum standards and allow member states to opt for a higher level of protection.
The Commission and the Council of Ministers were opposed to the proposal in July 2006, but had to bow to pressure from Parliament
The new rules on pesticides are based on free sale of pesticides within certain geographical zones. But they may also allow for a derogation where ground water used for drinking water may be threatened.
A proposal for a groundwater directive would have prevented Denmark from banning certain pesticides that has found their way into Danish groundwater. Denmark is the only country in the EU, which does not apply chemical water purification. Danish water quality is usually better than water that can be bought in bottles. However, quality is threatened, and drinking water has become a scarce resource.
The European Parliament adopted by 390 votes a Danish amendment, which would permit better national protection rules and turn the proposal for total harmonisation into a minimum-standards directive to be adopted unanimously. The Commission and the Council of Ministers rejected the amendment, but had to bow to pressure from Parliament in 2006.
In 2008, the battle was repeated in new EU rules on pesticides. It is still possible for a member state to forbid certain pesticides. This is a good example on real influence for the European Parliament even if their powers are weak.