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Monday, 05 December 2016

EP opposed to reducing controls on citrus from 3rd countries

Last Tuesday, the European Parliament's Committee on Agriculture (COMAGRI) approved a resolution, submitted by Socialist MEP Clara Aguilera, rejecting the amendments that the European Commission intends to make to the current EU Plant Protection Law, which would entail changes in the controls on citrus fruit imports from third countries. "It is essential to equip ourselves with effective tools so that the drama of the Xylella fastidiosa, which lives in southern Italy, does not happen in the citrus plantations of Valencia, Andalusia or other territories of the EU," stated Aguilera. "If we have learned that lesson, we can not sit idly by while the Commission is trying to introduce less strict phytosanitary controls for citrus fruits imported from third countries intended for processing rather than for fresh consumption," she added. The socialist MEP recalled that we are talking about pests as dangerous as Black Spot or citrus canker, and that relaxing the controls creates an unnecessary risk of contamination and propagation. The resolution, adopted by a large majority, including all Spanish MEPs from all political groups, is based on the scientific opinions of the EFSA and EPPO and rejects the amendments proposed by the Commission, which would require the fruits intended for processing to undergo a simple visual inspection, without the need for cold treatment, unlike what is required for citrus imports by countries like the US or Japan. "We now have to wait until the plenary session of the European Parliament ratifies this resolution at its meeting on 12 and 15 December, and that the European Commission listens to our request and effectively strengthens the phytosanitary controls at the borders of the EU, especially when considering that our growers have been deprived of many active substances in the fight against pests and the only alternative is simply the crops' destruction," concluded Aguilera. The European Parliament's Agriculture Committee today approved a resolution calling on the European Commission to tighten controls on pests affecting citrus fruits imported from third countries. Representatives of the Spanish citrus sector (ASAJA, COAG, UPA, Cooperativas Agro-alimentarias, CGC and Ailimpo) are grateful for the immense involvement of Spanish MEPs and hope that this historic resolution, which has yet to be ratified, will send a clear message to the Commission that will lead to the presentation of a new project.

Source: Fresh Plaza