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 Index 
 Full text 
Procedure : 2013/0141(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0293/2016

Texts tabled :

A8-0293/2016

Debates :

PV 25/10/2016 - 18
CRE 25/10/2016 - 18

Votes :

PV 26/10/2016 - 6.6
CRE 26/10/2016 - 6.6

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0415

Debates
Tuesday, 25 October 2016 - Strasbourg Revised edition

18. Protective measures against pests of plants (debate)
Video of the speeches
PV
MPphoto
 

  Anthea McIntyre, rapporteur . – Madam President, plant health is a very important issue across the whole of Europe and the agreement that we have reached on protective measures against pests of plants is a really significant achievement. I would particularly like to pay tribute to my shadows and thank them for all their work, for their positive approach and for their cooperation over many months. This regulation will strengthen our phytosanitary security and our biodiversity through a proportionate and risk-based approach that provides quicker decision-making, faster action and better collaboration between Member States.

Our problem is that pests and diseases do not respect national borders. That is why it is so important to have an EU-wide agreement. At its most basic, this regulation aims first to prevent the entry of plant pests into the EU, then to eradicate harmful organisms when they are found to be present and, finally, to contain the spread of any outbreak when the first aim fails.

So this agreement updates rules that date back to 2000, in order to provide a modern, responsive and effective regime for plant health. It provides better protection at import, against high-risk trades, it provides increased surveillance and financial support, including better prioritisation of the most harmful of organisms, it introduces stricter eradication measures, it harmonises plant passports and it gives clearer rules for protected zones.

In 2015, the value of crop output in the EU amounted to over EUR 200 billion. It is a key sector for European agriculture and it represents the livelihood of thousands of farmers. We need only look at the devastation caused by Xylella fastidiosa to see both the socioeconomic and the environmental damage which can be caused by pests. Xylella has affected thousands of acres of olive groves in southern Member States and caused severe economic losses for farmers. Another example is Chalara or Ash dieback, which has spread rapidly across continental Europe. In the UK, this fungus was first confirmed in 2012 in trees growing in nurseries or in recently established plantations. It has spread so rapidly that it is estimated that 80 million ash trees could be affected.

It is crucial to protect EU agriculture, horticulture and forestry and as a continent our defences are only as strong as the weakest link. New pests and diseases are emerging all the time as a result of globalisation, climate change and the increasing volume of imports from new parts of the world. All this increases the risk of future outbreaks of harmful organisms. So the challenge of how best to respond to these risks has led to significant political differences amongst the Member States and across Parliament.

I believe the compromise we reached represents the best agreement possible to bridge these differences. It strikes the right balance between facilitating legitimate trade, on the one hand, and protecting the EU from pests from third countries, on the other. A new article was inserted, introducing the possibility of a preliminary assessment on the basis of which high-risk plants, plant products or other objects would be prevented from entering Union territory until a full risk assessment was carried out. Presuming the safeguards for defining high risk are appropriately applied, then the scope for introducing a closed system via the back door is negligible. I really strongly recommend this agreement to Parliament.

 
Last updated: 7 February 2017Legal notice