EU agriculture ministers will meet on Monday (12 June) in Luxembourg to decide if talks can continue on the much-debated reform of the EU organic farming regulation.
Adopted by the European Commission in March 2014, the reform proposals aim to remove obstacles to organic production by introducing certificates to cut operators’ costs, to avoid fraud and to regain consumer confidence by restricting organic products containing forbidden substances. They also aim to reflect the greatly increased size of today’s organic farming market.
On 29 May, the EU Maltese Presidency, that winds up on 30 June, asked the 27 EU member states to agree a new mandate and support a new compromise text – but 18 countries disagreed. This meant that the planned 31 May trialogue discussion – a behind-closed-doors meeting between the European Parliament, Council of ministers and Commission – could not go ahead.
German Green MEP Martin Häusling, responsible for steering the legislation through Parliament, said a quick agreement must be reached. “Considerable progress has been made on imports of organic food from third countries, pesticide residues and controls. The organisations in the sector should be aware that a great chance to overcome the weaknesses of the current regulation could be missed.”
Green food safety spokesperson Bart Staes agreed a deal was “vital for the development of the sector”.
However, certifiers, lobbying rganic and Fair Trade movements joined in a press statement saying the reform “will not lead to the overall development of the organic legislative framework and does not meet the initial objectives of the revision process”.