Motion for a resolution - B8-0457/2015Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the outbreak of Xylella fastidiosa affecting olive trees

13.5.2015 - (2015/2652(RSP))

further to Question for Oral Answer B8-0117/2015
pursuant to Rule 128(5) of the Rules of Procedure

Paolo De Castro, Isabelle Thomas, Eric Andrieu, Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Viorica Dăncilă, Marlene Mizzi, Victor Negrescu on behalf of the S&D Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0451/2015

Procedure : 2015/2652(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the outbreak of Xylella fastidiosa affecting olive trees


The European Parliament,

–       having regard to Directive 2000/29/EC on protective measures against the introduction into the Community of organisms harmful to plants or plant products and against their spread within the Community[1],

–       having regard to the Scientific Opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on the risks to plant health posed by Xylella fastidiosa in the EU territory, with the identification and evaluation of risk reduction options, published on 6 January 2015,

–       having regard to the Commission Implementing Decision of 2015 as regards measures to prevent the introduction into and the spread within the Union of Xylella fastidiosa,

–       having regard to the question to the Commission on the outbreak of Xylella fastidiosa affecting olive trees (O-000038/2015 – B8-0117/2015),

–       having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas Xylella is a highly dangerous immediate threat to the production in southern Europe of certain crops, including olive, almond and peach trees and ornamental plants, is a potential threat to vineyards, citrus trees and other crops, and could lead to unprecedented and devastating losses, with dramatic economic, environmental and social consequences;

B.     whereas the bacterium is already causing severe damage to olive groves in the Apulia region of southern Italy, potentially threatening other crops and regions;

C.     whereas olive production is one of the Apulia region’s most important agricultural sectors, accounting for 11.6 % (or EUR 522 million) of the total value of agricultural production in the region and 30 % of the value of Italian olive production in 2013;

D.     whereas the presence of Xylella fastidiosa is causing severe economic damage, not only to olive producers but also to the entire chain of production, including cooperative and private mills, and marketing;

E.     whereas the first notification of an outbreak of Xylella fastidiosa was made by the Italian authorities on 21 October 2013;

F.     whereas the inspections carried out in Italy in November 2014 by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) of the Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety confirm that the situation has dramatically deteriorated and that a further spread of the bacterium cannot be ruled out;

G.     whereas the Xylella blight has already ravaged large areas of production in third countries, such as vineyards in California and citrus groves in Brazil, and is present in much of the US and Latin America;

H.     whereas no treatment is currently available to cure diseased plants, and whereas affected plants tend to remain infected throughout their lives or to collapse quickly;

I.      whereas different plants can host the disease, including asymptomatic wild plants, in the European Union;

J.      whereas cutting down affected production would not be enough to stop the spread of the disease, and phytosanitary measures can also be taken to eliminate the insects that are the vectors of Xylella; whereas, however, concern has been expressed about the widespread use of pesticides;

K.     whereas EFSA has underlined the fact that there are no indications that the option of eradication will be successful once the disease is established in an area; whereas preventive action, focused on imports, should be prioritised along with the reinforcement of research sharing;

1.      Stresses the need for support at EU level for the implementation of the measures taken by the Commission, in agreement with all Member States and in accordance with EU law;

2.      Notes the proposal by the Standing Committee on Plant Health of 28 of April 2015 for an implementing decision as regards measures to prevent the introduction into, and the spread within, the Union of Xylella fastidiosa;

3.      Finds it regrettable that the Commission does not always react quickly enough to prevent the entry into the EU of plant diseases from third countries because the system for import control, as set up under Directive 2000/29/EC is strictly based on a reactive approach, which does not provide sufficient protection against pests like Xylella; urges the Commission, therefore, to verify the source of the infection and to review the EU official phytosanitary import system in order to protect and safeguard the EU territory;

4.      Urges the Council and the Commission to reactivate discussions on the revision of the EU official phytosanitary control system in order to protect and safeguard the EU territory; considers that the review of phytosanitary risk management at EU level is the key issue that should be included in discussions, while preventing a negative impact on global commercial exchanges;

5.      Urges the Commission, especially in view of the onset of summer, to take more effective measures to avoid the spread of Xylella in the EU by strictly enforcing and monitoring the provisions of Article 9 of the Implementing Decision of 2015, in particular by targeting the crops most at risk, while not neglecting other crops that could also be seriously affected by the disease;

6.      Urges the Commission and the Member States to analyse the best means of compensating producers for the destruction of their crops – which involves losses in terms of not only future agricultural production but also cultural heritage and history – where such action is necessary to prevent the spread of Xylella;

7.      Asks the Commission and the relevant authorities to make use of all possible funds and instruments to assist the economic recovery of the affected areas;

8.      Urges the Commission to activate the compulsory establishment of the olive tree (Olea europaea) phytosanitary passport and to set up a list of positive countries and products that might be able to demonstrate safety at a phytosanitary level;

9.      Calls on the Commission to take all the necessary measures against the importation of plants affected by Xylella by controlling imports into the EU and to ensure the traceability of susceptible plants that are imported;

10.    Considers that a ban on imports of Coffea for planting, but not seeds, originating from Costa Rica and Honduras is necessary in view of the high phytosanitary risks for European agriculture;

11.    Urges the Commission to promote intensified research efforts without delay, including through increased international networking and by making funds available for research institutes, to increase scientific knowledge of Xylella and to positively identify the pathogens and vectors causing the blight to spread;

12.    Suggests the launching of information campaigns to encourage producers and plant purchasers to immediately alert the competent authorities of the presence – or the suspected presence – of the bacterium; calls on the Commission to identify incentives for producers implementing preventive measures;

13.    Considers that, especially in view of the onset of summer, the Commission and the Member States should warn travellers about the risks of introducing infected plants from countries affected by Xylella into the EU;

14.    Encourages the Member States to increase the number of regular inspections to prevent the spread of the disease outside the demarcated areas;

15.    Asks the Commission to report to Parliament annually, or at any time if the situation evolves, on the threat posed to EU producers by Xylella and other organisms that are a danger to agricultural production;

16.    Calls on the Council to submit to Parliament an amended version of the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on protective measures against pests of plants in order to introduce a preventive system for import controls, similar to the system that already exists for animals, based on a preliminary risk evaluation prior to authorisation for import into the EU;

17.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.