S&Ds support stronger protection of EU plants from imported pests and diseases

Date

26 Oct 2016

Sections

Agriculture & Food
Health & Consumers

For over three years the European Union has been trying to update its plant health legislation to avoid the entry of non-native harmful pests and diseases. The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament have successfully pushed for a strengthened system of imports based on the precautionary principle. Today the final parliamentary vote will allow for the prompt implementation of a new regulation.
 
Plant pests or harmful organisms such as insects, fungi, bacteria and viruses can seriously damage plants and forestry, especially when they come from other continents and the local plants lack generic resistance. With the new law, there will be a list of high-risk plants and temporary bans on suspicious products, and a 'plant-passport' system to trace all plants allowed to enter EU territory.

S&D spokesperson on agriculture, Paolo de Castro MEP, said:
 
“Protection of our borders is becoming essential, especially in view of the latest epidemics that have broken out in Europe: it is worth remembering the case of the Xylella bacterium, which threatens to destroy part of the inestimable heritage of olive growing in southern Italy, as well as all the issues related to the red palm weevil or the chestnut gall wasp. All of these are a direct consequence of uncontrolled imports of infected plants and organisms from third countries, which have found fertile ground in our area.
 
“This new regulation is more necessary than ever in order to establish a plant health regime in Europe able to prevent and effectively control the spread of harmful organisms, while guaranteeing the sustainability of our producers' activities.”

S&D spokesperson on this issue, Viorica Dăncilă MEP, added:
 
“In a globalised economy with plants and fruit crossing the globe every day it is very important to have a robust legislative framework to protect Europe’s agriculture and flora against pest and plant diseases from abroad. This piece of legislation is achieving this result by creating a controlled import system, imposing the use of 'plant passports' – and thus ensuring full traceability – and by putting in place a rapid alert system and contamination plans in case of any outbreak.  I’m confident that this system will provide both the flexibility and the precautions that today's economy needs."