Four European countries on a north to south trajectory were sampled for their crop protection policies. Selected respondents were interviewed about their expectations with respect to the eventual reduction of pesticide use in the near future. Crop protection, policies among these countries are out of phase: Sweden has successfully completed a plan to reduce pesticide usage to 50% of a base-line value; the Netherlands are in the process of implementing such a plan; France is aiming to achieve supervised control; Spain is trying to reduce pesticide residues in export commodities. Before the year 2000, considerable reductions in the volume of pesticides used can be expected only in the Netherlands. Among the reasons for scepticism with regard to the reduction of dependence on pesticides and pesticide use are 'lack of alternatives', 'inadequate research capacity', 'inadequate supervision for observance of regulations', 'absence of clear national policies' and 'absence of EC policy'