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Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, April 2018

20-04-2018

The April plenary session's highlight was the debate on the future of Europe with the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, detailing his ambitions for a reinvigorated Europe, ready to face existing and emerging challenges. Members also heard from the European Council and Commission Presidents on the outcome of the March European Council meeting. High Representative Federica Mogherini made statements on the UN global compacts for migration and refugees, Syria, Russia, the situation in ...

The April plenary session's highlight was the debate on the future of Europe with the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, detailing his ambitions for a reinvigorated Europe, ready to face existing and emerging challenges. Members also heard from the European Council and Commission Presidents on the outcome of the March European Council meeting. High Representative Federica Mogherini made statements on the UN global compacts for migration and refugees, Syria, Russia, the situation in the Korean peninsula and of Greek soldiers arrested in Turkey. Parliament adopted, inter alia, legislative resolutions on greenhouse gas emissions, the circular economy, European political parties and foundations, anti-money-laundering, market surveillance of motor vehicles, and organic production and labelling. Members granted discharge for the execution of the 2016 budget to the European Commission and all EU institutions and agencies, except the Council/European Council and European Asylum Support Office.

Organic production and labelling of organic products

11-04-2018

In 2014, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products. Aimed at revising the existing legislation on organic production in order to remove obstacles to the sustainable development of this sector, the proposal is intended to strengthen the rules on the control system, the trade regime, various animal welfare practices and the use of non-authorised substances. The proposed regulation will introduce one set of EU-wide rules covering ...

In 2014, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products. Aimed at revising the existing legislation on organic production in order to remove obstacles to the sustainable development of this sector, the proposal is intended to strengthen the rules on the control system, the trade regime, various animal welfare practices and the use of non-authorised substances. The proposed regulation will introduce one set of EU-wide rules covering the entire organic sector. Parliament is due to vote on the proposal during its April plenary session.

Organic farming legislation - Revision of EU Regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products

09-03-2018

Developing organic production is an EU policy objective. While the EU organic market is constantly expanding, only 6 % of total EU agricultural area is used for organic cultivation, and the difference between EU demand and production is covered by growing imports. To overcome the regulatory obstacles to the development of the sector and increase consumer confidence in the EU organic logo, the Commission adopted a proposal in March 2014 for a regulation on organic production and labelling of organic ...

Developing organic production is an EU policy objective. While the EU organic market is constantly expanding, only 6 % of total EU agricultural area is used for organic cultivation, and the difference between EU demand and production is covered by growing imports. To overcome the regulatory obstacles to the development of the sector and increase consumer confidence in the EU organic logo, the Commission adopted a proposal in March 2014 for a regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products, repealing the current framework dating from 2007. Following a series of trilogue meetings, the Maltese Presidency and the European Parliament reached a preliminary agreement on 28 June 2017. The Council's Special Committee on Agriculture endorsed the agreement, which the Parliament's Agriculture Committee subsequently approved on 22 November 2017. The full Parliament and Council now need to approve the text before the new regulation can enter into force. This briefing updates earlier editions, of September (PE 568.317), and October 2015 (PE 596.036), drafted by Francesco Tropea.

Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture

20-12-2016

This study reviews existing scientific evidence regarding the impact of organic food on human health from an EU perspective, with a focus on public health. The development of environmentally sustainable and healthy food systems is an international priority. The study examines how organic food and organic agriculture can contribute to this in relation to public health. Human and animal studies directly addressing the health effects of organic food are reviewed. Furthermore, evidence linking principles ...

This study reviews existing scientific evidence regarding the impact of organic food on human health from an EU perspective, with a focus on public health. The development of environmentally sustainable and healthy food systems is an international priority. The study examines how organic food and organic agriculture can contribute to this in relation to public health. Human and animal studies directly addressing the health effects of organic food are reviewed. Furthermore, evidence linking principles and rules of organic production to human health effects is discussed.

Biodiversity and agriculture

21-06-2016

In its mid-term review of the Biodiversity strategy, the European Commission identified a continuing decline in the species and habitats associated with agriculture. It concluded that the strategy was not fulfilling expectations with regard to the contribution of agriculture and forestry to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity. Numerous studies show that agricultural biodiversity loss is linked to intensification of agricultural activities on the one hand, and the abandonment of farming on the ...

In its mid-term review of the Biodiversity strategy, the European Commission identified a continuing decline in the species and habitats associated with agriculture. It concluded that the strategy was not fulfilling expectations with regard to the contribution of agriculture and forestry to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity. Numerous studies show that agricultural biodiversity loss is linked to intensification of agricultural activities on the one hand, and the abandonment of farming on the other hand. Intensification is generally associated with high yields, but also with significant changes in the natural environment. Abandonment generally implies the loss of cultivated landscapes and corresponding habitats. There are essentially two different models of how to reconcile biodiversity and agricultural activities: the land-sharing model based on more extensive farming, and the land-sparing model based on further intensification of farming. The reformed Common Agricultural Policy offers various instruments aimed at supporting biodiversity while guaranteeing a decent living for farmers. Conservationists consider the reforms to be lagging behind expectations, whereas farmers fear a loss of income through lower yields. The European Parliament has expressed concern regarding biodiversity loss and has called on the Commission to assess the effectiveness of the measures taken so far.

Organic farming legislation - Revision of regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products

20-10-2015

The development of organic production is a political objective of the EU. Although its organic market has constantly expanded, the EU's organic land area still represents only 6% of the total agricultural area and the difference between EU demand and production is covered by growing imports. To overcome the regulatory obstacles to the development of the sector and increase consumer confidence in the EU organic logo, in March 2014 the Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on organic production ...

The development of organic production is a political objective of the EU. Although its organic market has constantly expanded, the EU's organic land area still represents only 6% of the total agricultural area and the difference between EU demand and production is covered by growing imports. To overcome the regulatory obstacles to the development of the sector and increase consumer confidence in the EU organic logo, in March 2014 the Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products, repealing Regulation No 834/2007. EU Agriculture Ministers agreed in June 2015 on a Council general approach to the proposal. On 13 October 2015, the Parliament's Agriculture Committee voted on its draft report on the proposal and the mandate to begin negotiations with the Council. This briefing updates an earlier edition, of 10 September 2015: PE568.317. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

Organic farming legislation - Revision of regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products

11-09-2015

The development of organic production is a political objective of the EU. Although its organic market has constantly expanded, the EU's organic land area still represents less than 6% of the total agricultural area and the difference between EU demand and production is covered by growing imports. To overcome the regulatory obstacles to the development of the sector and increase consumer confidence in the EU organic logo, the European Commission adopted in March 2014 a proposal for a Regulation on ...

The development of organic production is a political objective of the EU. Although its organic market has constantly expanded, the EU's organic land area still represents less than 6% of the total agricultural area and the difference between EU demand and production is covered by growing imports. To overcome the regulatory obstacles to the development of the sector and increase consumer confidence in the EU organic logo, the European Commission adopted in March 2014 a proposal for a Regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products, repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007. EU Agriculture Ministers agreed in June 2015 on a Council general approach to the proposal while Parliament's Agriculture Committee is expected to vote on its draft report on the proposal in October. A more recent edition of this document is available. Find it by searching by the document title at this address: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/home.html

Organic food

19-05-2015

Organic production is an overall system of farm management and food production that aims at sustainable agriculture, high-quality products and the use of processes that do not harm the environment, human, plant or animal health and welfare. Globally, 43.1 million hectares of agricultural land was under organic production in 2013, six million more than the year before. With 10.2 million hectares, the European Union (EU) accounts for 24% of the world’s organic land. There are almost 2 million organic ...

Organic production is an overall system of farm management and food production that aims at sustainable agriculture, high-quality products and the use of processes that do not harm the environment, human, plant or animal health and welfare. Globally, 43.1 million hectares of agricultural land was under organic production in 2013, six million more than the year before. With 10.2 million hectares, the European Union (EU) accounts for 24% of the world’s organic land. There are almost 2 million organic producers in the world, mostly in Asia (36%), Africa (29%) and Latin America (16%). The EU represents 13% of this total. The infographic first shows the production and consumption of organic food in the world. It then focuses on the EU figures for organic agricultural land, producers, sales and consumption. The last part describes the places where Europeans buy organic food and the reasons they choose to do so. Unless otherwise reported, data in this infographic are based on ‘The world of organic agriculture 2015’ - the largest global data collection on organics published by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) in collaboration with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM - Organics International) and other partners. Data are collected and published annually.

Organic food: Helping EU consumers make an informed choice

19-05-2015

Organic production is an overall system of farm management and food production that aims at sustainable agriculture, high-quality products and the use of processes that do not harm the environment, or human, plant or animal health and welfare. Prompted mainly by environmental concerns and in spite of the higher price of organic products, EU consumers spent over €22 billion in 2013, helping the EU organic market grow by nearly 6%. To help them make an informed choice, the European Commission introduced ...

Organic production is an overall system of farm management and food production that aims at sustainable agriculture, high-quality products and the use of processes that do not harm the environment, or human, plant or animal health and welfare. Prompted mainly by environmental concerns and in spite of the higher price of organic products, EU consumers spent over €22 billion in 2013, helping the EU organic market grow by nearly 6%. To help them make an informed choice, the European Commission introduced a specific EU organic logo in 2010, complementing earlier legislation setting up an extensive framework of rules and requirements on the production, processing, handling and certification of organic foods. While demand is mainly concentrated in North America and Europe, over three quarters of the nearly 2 million organic producers worldwide are in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The EU continues to be a forerunner in organic agriculture thanks to strong consumer demand, strict legal protection and support for organic production. Around one eighth of the world's organic producers – 260 000 – are situated in the EU, and in 2013 they cultivated over 10 million hectares of land. Within the EU organic market Germany has the largest share (€7.6 billion) followed by France (€4.4 billion), the United Kingdom (€2.1 billion), and Italy (€2 billion). While the sustainable nature of organic farming is generally conceded, its health and nutritional benefits are still widely debated. The use of (organic) pesticides and the possible presence of residues in organically grown crops also attract a lot of attention. Meanwhile, the increasing competition for shoppers and the recent market entry of retail discounters such as Aldi, make analysts fear a price war seriously affecting farmers and food manufacturers. The recent growth in organic farming has also given rise to the so-called 'conventionalisation hypothesis', according to which some big organic farms are increasingly functioning as modified models of conventional farms.

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 ...

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.

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