New support to European fruit producers

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On 1 July 2017, the exceptional measures to help producers of perishable fruits affected by the ban on imports imposed by the Russian authorities have been extended for a further year until end of June 2018.

The measures consist of up to 70 million euro to support European fruit producers who, because of the import ban introduced by Russia in August 2014, might not find a market outlet for their products, and will compensate those fruit farmers who choose to distribute their excess products to organisations (charity and schools) or make use of it for other purposes.

The extended scheme is specifically designed to help the sector of the so-called permanent crops (fruit trees), since they are less able to adapt to changing situations, and comes in addition to a number of other exceptional support measures for the agricultural market related to the Russian ban.

Farmers receive 100% EU-funded support for withdrawals for so-called free distribution (giving the fruit away to charity for consumption) which avoids food waste. Fruit that is withdrawn from the market but not actually consumed (for example, sent directly to composting), or that is harvested before it is ripe (so-called “green-harvesting”) or not harvested at all, receives lower levels of support.

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, said: “the Commission has done everything in its power to support European producers negatively affected by the Russian ban. This latest extension sends yet another clear signal that we will remain firmly and fearlessly on the side of our farmers. These support measures go hand in hand with our ongoing work to modernise and simplify the CAP for the benefit of both our farmers and our wider European society”.

The measures cover 12 Member States and different withdrawal volumes will apply to ensure that the financial support reaches the producers most in need.

Further information is available at the following LINK.


Giovanna Bagnardi e Davide Scavuzzo

New rules on organic farming in the EU

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On 28 June 2017, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament reached a preliminary agreement on an overhaul of the existing EU rules on organic production and labelling of organic products. The agreement sets more modern and uniform rules across the EU with the aim of encouraging the sustainable development of organic production in the EU.

The new rules also aim to guarantee fair competition for farmers and operators, prevent fraud and unfair practices and improve consumer confidence in organic products. The MEP, rapporteur and chief negotiator for the European Parliament, Martin Häusling, said: “After 20 months of negotiations we have managed to reach an agreement, which will help organic sector, grow and will increase consumers’ trust in organic foodstuffs. It was a laborious task but I believe new rules will bring benefits to both EU consumers and organic farmers”.

Among others, the new rules will, in particular:

  • increase consumer confidence by strengthening the control system;
  • make the life of organic farmers easier by enhancing legal clarity and allowing for further harmonisation and simplification of production rules;
  • develop new trade agreements with third countries; and
  • enlarge the scope of organic rules to cover a wider list of products (such as salt, cork, beeswax).

The agreement still needs to be approved by the Council’s Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA). After formal endorsement by the Council, the new legislation will be submitted to the European Parliament for a vote at first reading and to the Council for final adoption. The new regulation will apply from 1 July 2020.

Further information is available at the following LINK.


Giovanna Bagnardi e Davide Scavuzzo

The Council of the EU has launched the new awareness raising strategy for plant health

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On 14 June 2017, the Chief plant health officers, the working party of the Council of the European Union that reports on overall issues and strategic aspects of EU policies in the area of plant health, agreed to launch a new and comprehensive awareness raising strategy for plant health in the European Union.

The European Union has recently faced various crises and emergencies due to outbreaks and findings of plant pests in its territory, as in the case of Xylella fastidiosa or pine wood nematode.

The new strategy consists of five suggested priority actions, to be carried out by both Member States and the Commission, and aims at helping national authorities to give appropriate information to all the involved parties in the prevention of and reaction to potentially devastating plant pests. The five suggested priority actions consist in:

  • the development of awareness-raising strategies;
  • the creation of a Commission working group of Member States experts;
  • the creation of toolkit and awareness-raising materials;
  • the engagement with target groups and training of communicators; and
  • activities of monitoring and evaluation.

The awareness raising strategy for plant health in the EU will play a key role in the context of the International year of plant health, which should be held in 2020.


Further information are available at the following LINK.


Giovanna Bagnardi e Davide Scavuzzo