Protection of olive groves and olive cultivation
Question for written answer E-008329-15
to the Commission
Tonino Picula (S&D)
The bacterium Xylella fastidiosa is an extremely dangerous bacterium that has already caused substantial losses to the olive growing sector in the South of Italy, where a total of 11 million infected trees are to be cut down. The presence of the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa causes serious economic damage not only to olive producers but also to the entire production chain, tourism and marketing activities because olive growing is much more than a branch of agriculture. It is the foundation of multi-millennial cultures of the Mediterranean. As the disease is transmitted by insects, this also endangers olive groves of other Mediterranean countries.
Along with the spread of the Xylella fastidiosa bacterial epidemic in the South of Italy, last year’s olive crop in Croatia was even 90% lower than the average due to the occurrence of the olive fruit fly disease. Expectations for this year’s crop are just as bad.
In a debate on the subject at the April plenary session the representative of the Commission stated that the Commission would find a way to financially help olive growers through rural development programmes or the Horizon 2020 programme.
Bearing in mind the Commission statement and the adoption of resolution RC-B8-0451/2015 by the European Parliament, what specific measures does the Commission plan to take in order to prevent the spread of the Xylella fastidiosa bacterial epidemic? Is the Commission considering paying additional funds to the olive growing sector across Europe which last year was badly hit by the aforementioned bacterium, but also by other diseases such as olive fly and peacock eye?