On May 26th, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the Commission’s proposal for a new EU organic regulation, the MEP Martin Häusling has presented his draft report to the Parliament Agriculture Committee.
The rapporteur assured that the critics and suggestions from the sector have been taken into account in his report, containing more than 300 amendments to the Commission’s proposal. First of all, he intends to guarantee legal certainty to the organic sector, reintroducing basic principles and core rules for organic production into the basic act, as well as limiting the empowerment of the Commission in delegated acts.
He completely rejects the de-certification threshold for non-authorized products, since it does not take into account adventitious contamination from conventional production and turns the polluter pays principle upside-down. Instead, he introduces precautionary measures as well as compensation facilities in case of adventitious contamination. Furthermore, in reintroducing the control aspects in the organic regulation, Mr Häusling intends to underline that organic food and farming is based on a principled process of production, which cannot be evaluated simply by testing a final product.
The report addresses also the issue of different interpretations and uneven implementation of organic regulation by Member States. It proposes to establish an EU Organic Agency with the task to improve the implementation of the organic regulation, to collect and evaluate the necessary data and scientific advice, and to establish improved information services.
Data collection and support measure would also be fundamental to phase-out exceptions, in particular to close existing gaps on the market for organically bred and grown seeds and animals.
Finally, the positive reactions of MEPs during the COMAGRI meeting shown that the report will be a solid base for the future work. Nevertheless, the debate is still open. A compromise between opposing positions should be found on mixed farms and annual control.
The deadline to present amendment is set on June 12th 2015, whereas the draft report should be voted in the Agriculture Commission in July 2015. If the Council comes to an agreement in June, trilogue should start in October 2015.
For more information, consult the draft report attached.
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