EU agrees on provisional plant protection deal
A package of measures include new regulations on how to stop the spread of plant diseases such as Xylella fastidiosa, a bacterium devastating some olive orchards in Italy's key growing regions and with outbreaks on the French island of Corsica.
"Plant health is an important issue for the whole of Europe," says rapporteur Anthea McIntyre, who headed Parliament’s negotiating team.
"I am very pleased that Parliament, together with member states, has agreed measures to protect our countries from the ravages of pests and diseases which can potentially destroy whole species of trees, plants and plant products."
The provisional deal also introduced preventive measures for imported plants and fast-response mechanisms for high-risk ones.
Plants and plant products from third countries will be assessed to quickly identify those likely to pose a pest risk or other phytosanitary hazard, and to impose temporary bans to stop them entering EU territory.
Professionals importing plants, postal service and internet clients as well as passengers importing potentially risky plants in luggage need to hold a phytosanitary certificate, while private travelers importing small quantities of particular plants would be exempt.
The provisional agreement also states the plant passport system should cover all movements of plants for the purposes of planting within the European Union, except for those directly supplied to final users such as home gardeners.
The deal also gives individual member states authority to apply the measures in private premises, but only to protect the public interest.
The provisionally agreed text still needs to go before Parliament’s agriculture committee and full Parliament.