EU: revision of the Organic Regulation concluded by the end of the year?
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After painfully slow negotiations in the past few months the EU Agriculture Council and the EU Parliament have agreed that they want to see the revision of the Organic Regulation concluded by the end of the year. Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein, the chair of Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft (BÖLW), is assuming that organic threshold values for pesticide contamination will be a part of the concluding negotiations. “Completely counter-intuitively, the EU Commission keeps insisting that organic producers should be responsible for pesticides coming from neighbouring fields and other contamination of the environment," says Löwenstein on the occasion of the eleventh trilogue round that took place in Brussels on Monday. "These totally unrealistic proposals by the EU Commission turn the polluter-must-pay principle on its head. And in no way will it persuade conventional colleagues to use fewer pesticides.“
He adds that the work at the technical level where representatives of the EU parliament, the Commission and the Agriculture Council negotiate compromises is well advanced. He issues a warning, however, that despite the need for speed the details have to be worked out very carefully so that the new organic legislation will be of appropriate quality. “Quick is not the same as good. In the weeks ahead a lot has got to happen to make the new legislation better than existing legislation. And that's the only yardstick to apply in evaluating this revision,“ Jan Plagge, the head of BÖLW, reminds us. A poorly drawn up text would make it difficult to implement the Organic Regulation for many years, burden the federal states, the control organisations and companies and lead to legal wrangles that could be avoided. “Efficient administration calls for well crafted laws; organic enterprises need fit-for-purpose rules and legal certainty. That's what Federal Minister of Agriculture Schmidt and the EU Parliament must continue fighting for in Brussels,“ Plagge insisted.
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