Plant health: Commission and Member States present list which paves the way for more plant safety across the EU

Member States backed the Commission's proposal for a set of measures that enhance the level of plant protection in the EU. At a Committee meeting in Brussels, experts from all EU countries approved a high-risk plants list, which includes 39 high-risk plants (35 plants for planting, 1 fruit, 1 vegetable and 1 wood).

The purpose of the list is to ensure that their introduction in the EU will be provisionally prohibited until a full risk assessment is completed. The list also enlarges the current scope of regulated plant material that needs to be accompanied by a specific phytosanitary certificate when imported. This will take effect from 14 December onwards.

The certification requirement doesn't apply to bananas, pineapples, coconuts, durians and dates as they do not represent a risk for the European agricultural production. In addition, the Member States approved a decision that will require a detailed view on the information and risk assessment procedures to be followed on the high risk material before getting possible access to the EU market. On top of that, an update of the current import requirements in particular for fruits was agreed.

Finally, with a view to further boost phytosanitary safety across the continent, a harmonised minimum level for import inspections of newly regulated plant material will be introduced, from December 2019 onwards.

Welcoming the vote, Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner in charge of Health and Food Safety, said : "A swift implementation of the Plant Health Regulation is of the utmost importance since it will not only reinforce our domestic fight against pests which can have major impact on the economy, but also strengthen the controls at the EU's border. To make it work, I call on Member States to step up the reinforcement and thepreparation of the necessary resources, notably in terms of personnel, to deal with this fight."  As a next step, the Commission will adopt the different regulatory actions which set the legal basis for all the measures, in the course of January 2019.

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