The EU quarantine regulations stipulate for a wide range of crops that the plants must be free of certain quarantine pests for movement within the EU. German fruit tree production currently faces a massive threat from quarantine pests, in particular phytoplasmas and plum pox.
Certain pathogens have continued to spread further despite strict EU requirements. The EU plant quarantine directive provides for various forms of control mechanisms to combat quarantine pests in such risk situations. Particularly strict requirements (a three-year delivery ban) apply in one orchard with regard to Candidatus phytoplasma mali (apple proliferation) in particular.
Given the extent to which apple proliferation has spread in the EU, this restriction now seems disproportionate. Reform of EU plant quarantine regulations is not due until 2019. Early reclassification of apple proliferation into the group of regulated non-quarantine pests is considered by growers to be necessary before the reform of the European quarantine regulations.
1. What is the Commission’s time frame for action on this issue? What is its position on the situation described above?
2. What is the likelihood of early reclassification, which stakeholders need?
Candidatus phytoplasm mali is currently listed in Annex I, part A, section II of Directive 29/2000(1) as a harmful organism known to occur in the EU and relevant for all Member States. At present, discussion on the future reclassification of a large number of harmful organisms known to occur in the EU and included in the annexes of the directive, is taking place. The organisms referred to in the question are included in this revision. The risk analysis part has been completed and the revision of the risk management measures is scheduled for the near future. Given the diverse expectations in different parts of the Union, any precision on the final result and timing cannot be foreseen.
(1) Council Directive 2000/29/EC of 8 May 2000 on protective measures against the introduction into the Community of organisms harmful to plants or plant products and against their spread within the Community, OJ 169, 10.7.2000, p. 1.