Decision on the EU Regulation on organic production sealed in Brussels
On 20 November 2017 the Special Committee on Agriculture approved by a qualified majority the proposal for a new EU Regulation on organic production. Finland was against the decision because certain rules in the compromise proposal voted on, such as those concerning greenhouse production, were not considered appropriate from the Finnish perspective.
Matters that are problematic for Finland also include the control obligation for retailers with regard to non-prepacked foods and the rules concerning the use and production of seeds. The Regulation would also restrict the access of animals other than those used for organic production to arable areas under organic production.
“The key objective for Finland in the European agricultural policy is to cut down the administrative burden for farmers and the whole food chain and clarify the rules. The Regulation now adopted does not promote these objectives but, in fact, caused new costs without bringing any significant benefits”, says Jari Leppä, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland.
What the Regulation allows, however, is a risk-based approach to controls, which is going to reduce the number of control visits to farms where problems have not been detected earlier.
The proposal brought to the Special Committee on Agriculture was supported by a qualified majority. Besides Finland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Cyprus, Latvia and Slovakia voted against the decision. Germany, Belgium and Hungary abstained from the vote.
The new Regulation on organic production is an outcome of a long process. The Commission proposal for the Regulation was first introduced in spring 2014 and the negotiations with the European Parliament took an exceptionally long time.
The Regulation will be applicable from 1 January 2021. In the further stages of the preparation detailed decisions must still be made on certain issues, including the requirements for livestock buildings.
“Now the work must continue in order that these details will be as good as possible for the Finnish organic production sector”, Minister Leppä says.
Kari Valonen, Head of EU Coordination and International Affairs, tel. +358 40 751 8407
Tero Tolonen, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 40 521 5384
Risto Lahti, Special Adviser to the Minister, tel. + 358 050 565 0424