Revision of the Fertilisers Regulation 2003/2003

04-05-2016

While Regulation 2003/2003 has clearly contributed to the removal of trade barriers for EC fertilisers and is generally cost-efficient, its effectiveness in terms of health and environmental protection appears mixed. Recent analyses indicate that one of its central weaknesses lies in the fact that it is mainly being used for conventional inorganic mineral fertilisers. As a result, nearly half of the fertilisers currently on the EU market are not covered by the Regulation, with negative impacts on the use of potentially more environmentally-friendly alternatives and on innovation. In addition, the Regulation does not include limits to the content of heavy metals such as cadmium and other contaminants. It is thus fair to conclude that, in its present form, Regulation 2003/2003 does not entirely reflect the current fertilising materials market situation and is not fully aligned with EU policy goals. A revision of the Regulation was already planned during the previous Commission term and has now been linked to the Circular Economy Strategy. A proposal for a Regulation to foster the use of organic and waste-based fertilisers, addressing some of the shortcomings of the existing Regulation and introducing limits for certain contaminants was published by the European Commission on 17 March 2016.

While Regulation 2003/2003 has clearly contributed to the removal of trade barriers for EC fertilisers and is generally cost-efficient, its effectiveness in terms of health and environmental protection appears mixed. Recent analyses indicate that one of its central weaknesses lies in the fact that it is mainly being used for conventional inorganic mineral fertilisers. As a result, nearly half of the fertilisers currently on the EU market are not covered by the Regulation, with negative impacts on the use of potentially more environmentally-friendly alternatives and on innovation. In addition, the Regulation does not include limits to the content of heavy metals such as cadmium and other contaminants. It is thus fair to conclude that, in its present form, Regulation 2003/2003 does not entirely reflect the current fertilising materials market situation and is not fully aligned with EU policy goals. A revision of the Regulation was already planned during the previous Commission term and has now been linked to the Circular Economy Strategy. A proposal for a Regulation to foster the use of organic and waste-based fertilisers, addressing some of the shortcomings of the existing Regulation and introducing limits for certain contaminants was published by the European Commission on 17 March 2016.