The European Commission is pressurising Germany and Austria to liberalise their organic production controls, which require licensed private inspection offices to be located on their national territories.

Brussels claimed that this breaks European Union (EU) freedom of provision of services rules, and has told the two governments to reform their systems, allowing inspectorates based in other Member States to check whether German or Austrian producers are following national organic guidelines.

Said a Commission note: “Failure to respect this (liberalisation) principle […] has the effect of restricting competition and is likely to adversely affect the producers of organic products who use their services and, indirectly, the consumers of these products.”