Baden-Württemberg: Beekeepers and the Island of Flowers quarrel with referendums

(Photo: Monika Skolimowska / zb / dpa)

Against the planned referendum on the protection of species, concerns are growing for beekeepers and flower lovers.

Stuttgart (dpa / lsw) – Beekeepers in the country fear the negative consequences of the planned referendum against the extinction of species. "Some things are not as you imagine them," said Ulrich Kinkel, president of the Württembergischer beekeepers' association. Initiators require, among other things, increased protection of orchards – beekeepers are therefore afraid of losing their bee colonies. Kinkel criticizes the spongy formulations in the project. It does not say if the orchards need to be protected. "Then we will have to migrate out of nature reserves," he said. This would lead to less pollination and less fruit.

The initiators would not have contacted the beekeepers, according to Kinkel. You will have to sit down with the associations to change the design.

A referendum on the protection of biodiversity has now been set up in Bavaria in Baden-Württemberg. Under the slogan "Save the bees", 18,000 signatures were collected in two and a half weeks, 8,000 more than needed for the approval request. According to the initiators of the proBiene association, the application is expected to be submitted to the Ministry of the Interior on July 26. If this is constitutional and permissible, the ministry sets a deadline for the referendum. This would mean that every tenth elector of Baden-Wuerttemberg should sign, representing around 770,000 people. In Bavaria, about 1.7 million people – nearly 18.4% of eligible voters – were registered for increased protection of species.

The main demands of the initiators are the expansion of organic farming to 50% by 2035 and the halving of pesticides. On their website, they also demand a "real protection against deforestation" orchards. "The usual care and use are not affected," he says.

Johannes Enssle, head of Naturschutzbund (Nabu), said on Thursday that orchard protection was also in the interest of beekeepers. It is known in other federal states, where orchards are already protected throughout the country, that beekeeping is expressly desired. Orchards are also pastures of bees without pesticides. "Those who protect the scattered fruit trees directly support the country's beekeepers," said Enssle.

The island of flowers of Mainau, meanwhile, withdraws its support already promised in the referendum. Although Mainau GmbH supports the idea and intent of this initiative, said a spokeswoman. "After a thorough examination of the bill, which Mainau GmbH did not present in its entirety at the time of an initial support commitment, Mainau GmbH is currently seeing obstacles in the current wording" , he says.

The 45 hectares of Mainau are one of the biggest tourist attractions of Lake Constance. According to the company, about 1.2 million people visited the Island of Flowers last year. From the point of view of the GmbH, there is a conflict of aims between the desire and the expansion of organic farming, inasmuch as the definition of "pesticides" would also include the authorized phytopharmaceutical products. in organic farming. As a member of Bioland and fruit tree producer, Mainau GmbH has decided to withdraw the promised support. The Mainau now require a professional exchange of all parties.

The ruling parties, the Greens and the CDU, consider the referendum partly with skepticism. The effects of individual measures should be further examined and their consequences assessed, according to a request from the CDU parliamentary group addressed to the Ministry of Environment led by Greens. From the point of view of Martin Grehn, spokesperson for the Greens' parliamentary group on agricultural policy, ecological farmers are threatened by ruinous price competition. The head of the green parliament, Andreas Schwarz, however, said during a conversation with the "Main Echo" on Thursday that he would sign the application as a citizen.

Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) said Tuesday that the Ministry of the Interior should first check if the application was admissible under the Constitution. "Only when it is submitted will we position ourselves as a state government." He welcomed the commitment of the people on these issues. "But it's also clear that we see things differently according to the points."

Referendum Save bees