REPORT on the proposal for a Council regulation amending Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 on organic production of agricultural products and indications referring thereto in agricultural products and foodstuffs

19.7.2006 - (COM(2005)0671 – C6‑0033/2006 – 2005/0279(CNS)) - *

Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
Rapporteur: Friedrich-Wilhelm Graefe zu Baringdorf

Procedure : 2005/0279(CNS)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
A6-0253/2006

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a Council regulation amending Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 on organic production of agricultural products and indications referring thereto in agricultural products and foodstuffs

(COM(2005)0671 – C6‑0033/2006 – 2005/0279(CNS))

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2005)0671)[1],

–   having regard to Article 37 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6‑0033/2006),

–   having regard to Rule 51 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A6‑0253/2006),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Calls on the Commission to alter its proposal accordingly, pursuant to Article 250(2) of the EC Treaty;

3.  Calls on the Council to notify Parliament if it intends to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

4.  Calls for initiation of the conciliation procedure under the Joint Declaration of 4 March 1975 if the Council intends to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

5.  Asks the Council to consult Parliament again if it intends to amend the Commission proposal substantially;

6.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and the Commission.

Text proposed by the CommissionAmendments by Parliament

Amendment 1

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 1 (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

1. A product imported from a third country may be placed on the Community market labelled as organic where it complies with the production rules laid down in this Regulation.

1. A product imported from a third country may be placed on the Community market labelled as organic where it meets the following conditions: it complies with the production rules laid down in this Regulation and the country of origin is clearly identifiable to importers and consumers and compliance with the above conditions can be checked and verified. Economic agents in third countries who are involved at any stage in the production, processing and distribution of the product in question must have given notice of their activities to a competent authority or inspection body pursuant to Article 9, provided that the authority or body in question carries out checks in the third country of production, or to a control body that is recognised pursuant to paragraph 5.

The product shall be covered by a certificate issued by the competent inspection authorities or bodies pursuant to Article 9. The certificate shall confirm that the product satisfies the conditions laid down in this paragraph.

Justification

If certification is not required in the case of such products, they will have to be accompanied by a document stating that they comply with all the rules laid down in the Community regulation.

Amendment 2

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 2 (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

2. A third country operator who wishes to place his products labelled as organic on the Community market, under paragraph 1, shall submit his activities to any inspection authority or inspection body as referred to in Article 9, provided that the authority or body concerned perform controls in the third country of production, or to a control body approved in accordance with paragraph 5 of this Article.

deleted

Justification

Granting an imported product direct market access without requiring a certificate proving that the product qualifies as organic will not provide consumers with the same guarantees as are offered by organic products originating in the EU.

Amendment 3

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 3, point (a) (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

(a) the product has been produced in accordance with production standards equivalent to those applied to organic production in the Community, or in accordance with the internationally recognised standards set out in the Codex Alimentarius guidelines;

(a) the product has been produced in accordance with production standards equivalent to those applied to organic production in the Community;

 

Justification

The Codex Alimentarius provides general guidelines for the production of organic products and makes no provision at all for the stringent production arrangements under Regulation 2092/91, with which Community producers of organic products comply. Community producers will, therefore, be at a considerably greater disadvantage in the production process.

Amendment 4

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 3, point (b) (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

(b) the producer has been subject to control arrangements which are equivalent to those of the Community control system, or which comply with the Codex Alimentarius guidelines;

(b) the producer has been subject to control arrangements which are equivalent to those of the Community control system;

 

Justification

The Codex Alimentarius provides general guidelines for the production of organic products and makes no provision at all for the stringent production arrangements under Regulation 2092/91, with which Community producers of organic products comply. Community producers will, therefore, be at a considerably greater disadvantage in the production process.

Amendment 5

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 3, point (d) (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

(d) the product is covered by a certificate issued by the competent authorities or control bodies of a third country recognised in accordance with paragraph 4, or by a control body recognised in accordance with paragraph 5, which confirms that the product satisfies the conditions set out in this paragraph.

 

(d) the product is covered by a certificate issued by the control authorities or bodies of a third country recognised in accordance with paragraph 4, or by a control body recognised in accordance with paragraph 5, which confirms that the product satisfies the conditions set out in this paragraph. Pursuant to the procedure referred to in Article 14(2), the Commission shall specify the characteristics of the control certificate and shall lay down the rules governing its use before the new import scheme comes into force. Τhe certificate shall be issued solely in respect of the particular consignment which it accompanies and to which it refers.

Justification

The certificate accompanying imported goods cannot be similar to the one referred to in Regulation No 1788/2001 as a ‘certificate of inspection’, since import authorisations will at some stage cease to exist. This means that changes will have to be made to the current certificate and rules governing the use thereof will have to be laid down before the new import scheme comes into operation (in principle by 1 January 2007).

Amendment 6

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 3, point (d a) (new) (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

 

(da) third-country control bodies which are approved in accordance with paragraph 4 or which are recognised in accordance with paragraph 5, comply with European standard EN 45011 concerning the general criteria relating to product-certification bodies (ISO 65) and are accredited before 1 January 2009 in accordance with that standard by any accreditation body which is signatory to the Multilateral Recognition Agreement.

Or. es

Justification

In order to ensure that products from third countries are subject to a control scheme equivalent to the Community scheme, control bodies in third countries must comply (or be accredited in accordance) with standard EN 45011. A reasonable period of time should be allowed for securing accreditation.

Amendment 7

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 4, subparagraph 1(Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

The Commission shall, in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 14(2), recognise the third countries whose production standards and control arrangements are equivalent to those applied in the Community, or are in accordance with the internationally recognised standards set out in the Codex Alimentarius guidelines, and publish a list of these countries.

The Commission shall, in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 14(2), recognise the third countries whose production standards and control arrangements are equivalent to those applied in the Community and publish a list of these countries. The published list must be reviewed regularly and the data verified by means of regular on-the-spot inspections of production facilities, standards and related documents.

Justification

The Codex Alimentarius provides general guidelines for the production of organic products and makes no provision at all for the stringent production arrangements under Regulation 2092/91, with which Community producers of organic products comply. Community producers will, therefore, be at a considerably greater disadvantage in the production process..

Amendment 8

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 4, subparagraph 2 a (new) (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

The Commission shall submit, by 1 January 2009, a proposal for EU technical assistance measures for the introduction of statutory general conditions and inspection systems for organic farming in third countries.

Justification

The Commission should in any case make sure that equivalent production standards are applied, where appropriate through local experts on the spot.

Amendment 9

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 4, subparagraph 2 b (new)(Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

 

The Commission shall inform third countries of its regulations on organic production and on the requirements of the control procedures that are in place.

Amendment 10

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 4, subparagraph 2 c (new) (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

 

The Commission's recognition of third countries, which is referred to in the first paragraph, must be reciprocal: the third country concerned must also grant EU organic products access to its market.

Justification

European operators - who are subject to very strict standards - could be exposed to unfair competition. If international ecological standards relating to imported products are accepted, it must be ensured that European standards are accepted outside the EU, particularly in the USA and Japan.

Amendment 11

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 5, subparagraph 1 (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

For products imported from a third country which is not recognised under paragraph 4, and where the operator has not submitted his activities to an inspection authority or inspection body as referred to in Article 9, the Commission shall, in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 14(2), recognise the control bodies competent to carry out controls and issue certificates in that third country for the purpose of paragraphs 2 or 3 of this Article, and publish a list of these control bodies.

For products imported from a third country which is not recognised under paragraph 4, and where the operator has not submitted his activities to an inspection authority or inspection body as referred to in Article 9, the Commission shall, in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 14(2), recognise the control bodies competent to carry out controls and issue certificates in that third country for the purpose of paragraphs 2 or 3 of this Article, and draw up and publish a list of these control bodies.

Amendment 12

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 5, subparagraph 3 (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

When examining requests for recognition, the Commission shall invite the control body to supply all the necessary information. The Commission may entrust experts with the task of examining on-the-spot the rules of production and the control activities carried out in the third country by the control body concerned.

When examining requests for recognition, the Commission shall invite the control body to supply all the necessary information. The Commission may entrust experts with the task of examining on-the-spot the rules of production and the control activities carried out in the third country by the control body concerned. The Commission shall investigate any indications of irregularities on the part of a control body recognised under this procedure. If a control body no longer meets the conditions for recognition under this Regulation, it shall be struck off the list.

Amendment 13

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 5, subparagraph 3 a (new) (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

 

By 1 January 2009, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the specific sources of risk for imports from third countries, which require particular attention and inspections, in order to prevent irregularities. The Commission shall also submit a proposal for the training and/or promotion of local certifiers and inspectors in third countries.

Amendment 14

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 5, subparagraph 3 b (new) (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

The list of third-country operators producing organic products for export to the EU shall be reviewed each year to confirm that they continue to comply with the conditions governing the production of organic products.

Justification

The list of operators producing organic products should be checked each year to ensure that they continue to fulfil the conditions and have not turned into conventional producers exploiting their once and for all inclusion on the lists of organic producers.

Amendment 15

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 5, subparagraph 3 c (new) (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

With effect from 1 January 2009, all bodies responsible for checking imports from third countries shall be recognised in accordance with the procedure referred to in this paragraph and shall meet the specifications laid down in the EN 45011 standard or the ISO 65 Guide.

Justification

As the expertise required for inspections of imports from third countries differs from that for domestic inspections, in future inspection bodies with their main office in the EU should also be subject to a special recognition procedure if they wish to certify imports from third countries. Attention should be drawn to the need for compliance with the EN 45011 standard (which lays down general requirements relating to product-certification bodies in terms of competence, reliability, independence and impartiality)

Amendment by Mairead McGuinness

Amendment 16

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 5, subparagraph 3 d (new)(Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

The competent national authorities should be involved in the procedure for recognising third-country control bodies and may carry out random on-the-spot checks on such control bodies, with a view to ensuring full compliance with this Regulation.

Amendment by María Isabel Salinas García

Amendment 17

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 6, subparagraph 1 (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

For a period ending six months after the publication of the first list of control bodies recognised pursuant to paragraph 5, the competent authority of a Member State may authorise importers in that Member State to place on the market products imported from third countries which are not included in the list referred to in paragraph 4, provided that the importer provides sufficient evidence showing that the conditions referred to in points (a) and (b) of paragraph 3 are satisfied. If those conditions are no longer satisfied, the authorisation shall be immediately withdrawn.

For a period ending six months after the publication of the first list of control bodies recognised pursuant to paragraph 5, the control authority or body of a Member State may authorise importers in that Member State to place on the market products imported from third countries which are not included in the list referred to in paragraph 4, provided that the importer provides sufficient evidence showing that the conditions referred to in points (a) and (b) of paragraph 3 are satisfied. If those conditions are no longer satisfied, the authorisation shall be immediately withdrawn.

Justification

Control bodies are the entities responsible for carrying out checks and discovering possible irregularities, and we consider this to be the meaning of the rule. All of this is based on the delegations set up by the competent authorities.

Amendment 18

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 6, subparagraph 2 (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

The imported product shall be covered by a certificate issued by the competent authority of the authorising Member State or by a control body recognised in accordance with paragraph 5, which confirms that the product satisfies the conditions set out in this paragraph.

The imported product shall be covered by a certificate issued by the control authority or body of the authorising Member State or by a control body recognised in accordance with paragraph 5, which confirms that the product satisfies the conditions set out in this paragraph.

Justification

Control bodies are the entities responsible for carrying out checks and discovering possible irregularities, and we consider this to be the meaning of the rule. All of this is based on the delegations set up by the competent authorities.

Amendment 19

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2

Article 11, paragraph 6, subparagraph 3 (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

Each Member State shall inform the other Member States and the Commission of each authorisation granted pursuant to this paragraph, including information on the production standards and control arrangements concerned.

Each Member State shall inform the other Member States and the Commission of each authorisation granted pursuant to this paragraph, including information on the production standards, import volumes and control arrangements concerned. Member States shall operate a public Community EU-import databank, coordinated by the European Food Safety Authority.

Amendment 20

ARTICLE 1, POINT 3 A (new)

Annex I, Part A, Point 2.2 (Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91)

 

(3a) Annex I Point A paragraph 2.2 of Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 is replaced by the following:

 

"2.2. Other organic or mineral fertilisers, mentioned in Annex II, may, exceptionally,

be applied, as a complement, up to a quantity of 30 kgN/ha, to the extent that:

— adequate nutrition of the locally adapted crop being rotated or soil conditioning are not possible by the methods set out under (a), (b) and (c) of the preceding subparagraph,

— the products in Annex II relating to manure and/or animal excrement may be used only to the extent that, in combination with the livestock manure referred to in point 2.1(b), the restrictions as referred to in Part B, point 7.1 of this Annex are satisfied.

Justification

Some Member States allow the use of animal excrement from conventional agriculture up to 170 kgN/ha. Using conventional waste as fertiliser dents the credibility of organic farming. It also distorts competition between Member States. As a transitional solution, therefore, a clear reduction in the quantity of conventional fertiliser allowed must be introduced so that conventional organic fertilisers can be abandoned completely once the new Regulation on organic farming comes into force.

  • [1]  Not yet published in OJ.

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The rules on the import of organic products were laid down provisionally in Regulation 91/2092. In its current proposal to amend this regulation, under procedure No 2005/0279 (CNS), the Commission proposes rules for the medium-term which will ultimately be included in its proposed new Regulation (2005/0278 (CNS)) on organic products.

The amendments to the existing regulation proposed in this report are designed to compile the necessary data and proposals to promote organic farming in third countries and to maintain the standards for imports in the intervening period before the introduction of a new regulation.

The existing regulation contains a list of six third countries whose legislation on the production, certification and marketing of organic products has been recognised as equivalent to the EU Regulation.

However, 70% of imports of organic products are still dealt with under import licences. These import licences are issued by the competent authorities of the Member States and in some instances the procedures differ. This means that importers may often face considerable lack of transparency and differing interpretations of the provisions on inspections and certification applied by individual Member States.

Member State provisions are not sufficiently consistent and there is no comprehensive common databank for import volumes, producers and importers. Import licences are currently valid for one year and for a certain amount of a particular product. Compliance with production conditions and amounts is verified by the authorities exclusively on the basis of documentation and not by random on-the-spot checks. Consequently, the import license procedure is rightly criticised on the one hand as over-bureaucratic and on the other as ineffective. There is no doubt that there have been many cases of fraud in the past despite a fairly high frequency of checks on imported goods.

Role of the European Commission and the national authorities

The Commission proposal to amend the current Regulation is a step in the right direction in principle. The EU should tighten up the procedure for the recognition of imported organic products so as to introduce pan-European uniform inspections and certification. It is still unclear, however, what precautions are to be taken to prevent fraud and how the Commission intends to cope with the huge task of monitoring control bodies. In view of the capabilities developed by the national authorities since 1991, these authorities should continue to be involved in the recognition and inspection procedures. They should be given a monitoring and advisory role. A Community databank on imports, listing the names of importers, producers, control bodies and import amounts should be developed on the basis of the Commission's existing databank. An overview of imports would be helpful in identifying and preventing dual certifications and imports of conventional goods under organic certificates and ensure product traceability.

Risk-oriented inspection procedures and clear rules

The existing monitoring in system for organic farming is process-based. This means that inspection procedures for imports from third countries are subject to different general conditions and sometimes different procedures from those governing domestic production. It is therefore essential to ensure that organic products put onto the market with the EU-wide organic label should be produced, without exception, in accordance with the principles and conditions set out in Regulation (EEC) 2092/91.

In the case of imports of organic products from third countries, the competent national and European authorities should take account of the fact that the statutory general conditions in producer countries differ from those in the EU. Farmers in third-countries are sometimes operating within different structures and documentation requirements in many third countries are not as developed as in the EU. Irregularities can occur at some distance from the place of production at loading yards, ports and interim storage facilities. Moreover, because of the growing demand for organic products, the various certifying bodies in third countries are under a degree of competitive pressure which can give rise to undue flexibility in inspections, particularly as the end user is at some distance.

Consequently, there is an urgent need for an analysis of specific risk points so as to organise checks and inspections more effectively. The Commission should improve the monitoring of accredited controllers by carrying out random checks on control bodies at identified risk points. The rules for checks on imports from third countries should be clarified and there should be uniform EU rules on the recognition and accreditation of certifying bodies.

There should also be sufficient flexibility to allow the rules to be adapted to the specific situation in the third countries concerned. As the certification and inspection of imports from third countries raise different problems from those that arise in certifying products within the internal market, your rapporteur suggests that both inspection bodies with their headquarters in the EU and those with their headquarters outside the EU should undergo an accreditation procedure if they want to certify imports from third countries.

The import rules for organic farming products could serve as a model for qualified access to the EU market; in the case of organic products, the EU offers producers and processors from third countries a high-value market with good prices on which they can sell their products, provided they comply with clear conditions.

PROCEDURE

Title

Proposal for a Council regulation amending Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 on organic production of agricultural products and indications referring thereto in agricultural products and foodstuffs

References

COM(2005)0671 – C6-0033/2006 – 2005/0279(CNS)

Date of consulting Parliament

27.1.2006

Committee responsible
  Date announced in plenary

AGRI
2.2.2006

Committee(s) asked for opinion(s)
  Date announced in plenary

ENVI
2.2.2006

INTA
2.2.2006

IMCO
2.2.2006

 

 

Not delivering opinion(s)
  Date of decision

ENVI
30.1.2006

INTA
25.1.2006

IMCO
21.2.2006

 

 

Enhanced cooperation
  Date announced in plenary

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Rapporteur(s)
  Date appointed

Friedrich-Wilhelm Graefe zu Baringdorf
26.1.2006

 

Previous rapporteur(s)

-

 

Legal basis disputed
  Date of JURI opinion


/


Financial endowment amended
  Date of BUDG opinion

-

/

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Parliament to consult European Economic and Social Committee
– date decided in plenary

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Parliament to consult Committee of the Regions – date decided in plenary

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Discussed in committee

20.02.2006

24.4.2006

20.6..2006

12.7.2006

 

Date adopted

12.7.2006

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

28

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-

Members present for the final vote

Marie-Hélène Aubert, Katerina Batzeli, Niels Busk, Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos, Giuseppe Castiglione, Joseph Daul, Albert Deß, Ioannis Gklavakis, Lutz Goepel, Bogdan Golik, Friedrich-Wilhelm Graefe zu Baringdorf, Esther Herranz García, Elisabeth Jeggle, Albert Jan Maat, Diamanto Manolakou, Mairead McGuinness, Neil Parish, María Isabel Salinas García, Agnes Schierhuber, Willem Schuth, Czesław Adam Siekierski, Marc Tarabella, Witold Tomczak, Janusz Wojciechowski

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

María del Pilar Ayuso González, Christa Klaß, Astrid Lulling, Jan Mulder

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

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Date tabled

19.7.2006

 

Comments (available in one language only)

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