Organic production and the European Union

16-02-2015

Organic agriculture views itself as respecting natural cycles by refraining from the use of genetically modified organisms, by limiting the use of synthetic chemical products and by ensuring animal welfare. Organic production, regulated and supported at EU level, is controlled, certified and labelled. The specifications list also adapts to different kinds of production. Initially a niche market, organic agriculture now represents a European market worth more than EUR 22 billion a year, with demand continuing to increase. The organic sector, seeking a vision for the future, must respond to certain challenges, particularly in its coexistence with conventional agriculture, but also in terms of producer and consumer confidence in the system and its values, in a context of growing international exchanges. In March 2014, the European Commission proposed to revise the entire legislative framework of the organic sector, in particular with the aim of reducing the current derogation practices, reviewing the control system and the import regime, simplifying the legislation and cutting down on the red tape. Some initial reactions to these proposals seem rather critical. The first reading legislative appraisal has started in the European Parliament, but the announcement of the new "Juncker Commission" of its intention to withdraw this proposal by mid-2015 should an agreement not be reached by then could change the context.

Organic agriculture views itself as respecting natural cycles by refraining from the use of genetically modified organisms, by limiting the use of synthetic chemical products and by ensuring animal welfare. Organic production, regulated and supported at EU level, is controlled, certified and labelled. The specifications list also adapts to different kinds of production. Initially a niche market, organic agriculture now represents a European market worth more than EUR 22 billion a year, with demand continuing to increase. The organic sector, seeking a vision for the future, must respond to certain challenges, particularly in its coexistence with conventional agriculture, but also in terms of producer and consumer confidence in the system and its values, in a context of growing international exchanges. In March 2014, the European Commission proposed to revise the entire legislative framework of the organic sector, in particular with the aim of reducing the current derogation practices, reviewing the control system and the import regime, simplifying the legislation and cutting down on the red tape. Some initial reactions to these proposals seem rather critical. The first reading legislative appraisal has started in the European Parliament, but the announcement of the new "Juncker Commission" of its intention to withdraw this proposal by mid-2015 should an agreement not be reached by then could change the context.