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Parliamentary questions
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25 March 2020
Answer given by Mr Breton
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000524/2020

Pursuant to Article 114(6) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the Commission has a period of six months to approve or reject national provisions of the kind referred to by the Honourable Members. The Commission is obliged, under the Treaty, to verify whether or not the provisions are a means of arbitrary discrimination or a disguised restriction on trade between Member States and whether or not they shall constitute an obstacle to the functioning of the internal market. When justified by the complexity of the matter and in the absence of danger for human health, the Commission may extend the period for a further period of up to six months. In the present cases, the Commission has considered it necessary to extend the period in order to be able to carefully assess the criteria of the Treaty. The extension as such does not have any effects on human health, because the harmonised limits of the Fertilising Products Regulation(1) will only start applying as of 16 July 2022 and so would the national derogations apply only from that date if approved by the Commission.

The Fertilising Products Regulation was adopted as recently as in June 2019, as a deliverable of the first circular economy action plan. As mentioned above, the harmonised cadmium limits will become applicable only as of 16 July 2022. Article 49 of the Fertilising Products Regulation requires the Commission to review these limit values and to submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council by 16 July 2026. This review will assess the feasibility of reducing the limit values to a lower appropriate level on the basis of available technologies and scientific evidence on cadmium exposure and accumulation in the environment, taking into account environmental factors, in particular in the context of soil and climatic conditions, health factors, as well as socioeconomic factors, including considerations of security of supply. In addition, the Commission will address the use of fertilisers in agriculture in the Farm to Fork Strategy to be presented in spring 2020 as part of the European Green Deal(2).

(1)Regulation (EU) 2019/1009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 laying down rules on the making available on the market of EU fertilising products and amending Regulations (EC) No 1069/2009 and (EC) No 1107/2009 and repealing Regulation (EC) No 2003/2003 OJ L 170, 25.6.2019, p. 1‐114
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