Europe Moves Forward with Rules to Prevent Influx of Plant Pests

Measures moved forward to prevent plant pests inadvertently entering EU territory and ensure that rapid response mechanisms are in place to quickly eradicate infected plants.

May. 20, 2016
By Isabel Putinja

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The European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee endorsed new rules to reduce the risk of plant pests like Xylella fas­tidiosa from enter­ing the EU.

The pro­posed mea­sures aim to pre­vent plant pests inad­ver­tently enter­ing EU ter­ri­tory and ensure that rapid response mech­a­nisms are in place to quickly erad­i­cate infected plants.

Plants pests and dis­eases do not respect bor­ders and we need to pro­tect our bio­di­ver­sity.- Anthea McIntyre

Plant pests can have dev­as­tat­ing effects on plant prod­ucts and liveli­hoods. Xylella fas­tidiosa has dec­i­mated acres of olive groves in Apulia (Puglia) and there are other reported infec­tions in Corsica and main­land France.

Plants pests and dis­eases do not respect bor­ders and we need to pro­tect our bio­di­ver­sity by lay­ing down basic pro­ce­dures for all 28 EU mem­ber states to adopt,” said Agriculture Committee rap­por­teur Anthea McIntyre in a press release by the European Parliament. At the same time, we must be care­ful not to sti­fle trade in plants and plant prod­ucts by intro­duc­ing unnec­es­sary lay­ers of bureau­cracy. This report strikes the right bal­ance by pro­tect­ing trade while allow­ing us to respond to threats in a coor­di­nated way across the EU.”

Under the new rules, a pre­lim­i­nary assess­ment mech­a­nism” would be cre­ated to iden­tify poten­tially risky plants and plant prod­ucts so their import into the EU could be banned. Also, all plants and plant prod­ucts from non-EU coun­tries would require a plant health cer­tifi­cate for import into the EU and be sub­ject to the recently pro­posedplant pass­port” sys­tem.


Only plants imported by pri­vate indi­vid­u­als for use in home gar­dens would be exempt from the require­ments. At the same time, all EU mem­ber states would be required to carry out multi-annual sur­veys” in order to detect pos­si­ble pests and come up with an erad­i­ca­tion plan. Existing rules gov­ern­ing com­pen­sa­tion for grow­ers whose infected plants are erad­i­cated will also be updated.

The new draft rules, which had been approved by European Parliament and European Council nego­tia­tors in last December, were endorsed through the vot­ing pro­ce­dure by the Agriculture Committee on April 26. The next step is for­mal approval by the European Council, before the Agriculture Committee gives its final approval and for­wards the text for sec­ond read­ing and approval by the European Parliament as a whole.


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