`Europe Approves Draft of New Rules to Prevent Spread of Plant Diseases - Olive Oil Times

Europe Approves Draft of New Rules to Prevent Spread of Plant Diseases

Dec. 17, 2015
Olive Oil Times Staff

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New reg­u­la­tions to curb the influx of killer plant pests such as the fatal olive tree dis­ease Xylella fas­tidiosa, have been pre­lim­i­nar­ily approved by mem­bers of the European Parliament.

MEPs infor­mally agreed to the pack­age of new mea­sures dur­ing high-level talks in Luxembourg yes­ter­day, December 16.

Parliament has agreed on mea­sures to pro­tect our coun­tries from the rav­ages of pests and dis­eases, which can poten­tially destroy whole species of trees, plants and plant prod­ucts.- Anthea McIntyre, Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands

The interim deal intro­duces pre­ven­tive mea­sures for impor­tant plants, espe­cially those con­sid­ered to be extremely high-risk to dis­eases such as Xylella fas­tidiosa, which is rav­aging olive crops in the Puglia region of Italy as well as the French island of Corsica.

There is wide­spread debate about its dev­as­tat­ing effects on future olive har­vests and con­se­quently its impact on the olive oil indus­try.

There are fears that Xylella, which has no cure, can spread to other plant crops, pos­ing a threat through European trade chan­nels.

Plant health is an impor­tant issue for the whole of Europe. I am very pleased that Parliament, together with the mem­ber states, has agreed on mea­sures to pro­tect our coun­tries from the rav­ages of pests and dis­eases, which can poten­tially destroy whole species of trees, plants and plant prod­ucts,” said the rap­por­teur, Anthea McIntyre who led the Parliament nego­ti­at­ing team.

Imported plants and plant prod­ucts pass­port sys­tem

Part of the mea­sures con­cern pro­fes­sional oper­a­tors import­ing plants and plant prod­ucts, but also extend to postal ser­vices and Internet clients as well as pas­sen­gers import­ing risky’ plants in their lug­gage.

Under the new rules, all of these peo­ple will need to hold a phy­tosan­i­tary cer­tifi­cate (an offi­cial doc­u­ment issued by the plant pro­tec­tion orga­ni­za­tion of the export­ing coun­try to the plant pro­tec­tion orga­ni­za­tion of the import­ing coun­try), while pri­vate trav­el­ers who import small vol­umes of par­tic­u­lar plants would be exempt.

Meanwhile, the plant pass­port sys­tem will cover all move­ments of plants that are planted within European Union ter­ri­tory, except for those sup­plied directly to final users such as home gar­den­ers, accord­ing to the pro­vi­sional agree­ment.

The next steps involve the pro­vi­sion­ally agreed text being endorsed by the European Council and the EU’s agri­cul­tural com­mit­tee before going before the full Parliament.

An EU press release added how the mea­sures to erad­i­cate dan­ger­ous pests will only work if all sources of infes­ta­tion are removed.

The deal, there­fore, allows mem­ber states and their rel­e­vant author­i­ties to apply the mea­sures in pri­vate premises, if nec­es­sary, but only to the extent needed to pro­tect the pub­lic inter­est,” it said.

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