Using the new Comitology procedure for the first time, the European Commission decided yesterday to reduce the areas under restriction in Bulgaria due to Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). The new 'Comitology Regulation', which entered into force on 1st March, lays down the rules on how Member States can exercise control of the Commission’s implementing powers.
The Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) was first diagnosed in a wild boar shot by hunters at the end of 2010 in the region of Burgas in southeast Bulgaria, close to the border with Turkey, and later testing of samples from farmed animals rendered positive FMD results.
Consequently, the Commission defined high- and low-risk areas in Commission Decision 2011/44/EC prohibiting the dispatch of susceptible animals from both these areas and the dispatch of products derived from susceptible animals from the high-risk area. This decision also provides for the rules applicable to the dispatch from those areas of safe products. Asafe are considered those products that either had been produced before the restrictions and are originating from outside the restricted areas or that had undergone an effective anti-virus treatment..
No new outbreaks have been reported since 31 January 2011 and surveillance has been implemented with satisfactory results in Bulgaria. It is therefore possible to reduce the size of the high-risk area to the two municipalities only (Malko Tarnovo and Tsarevo) and to include in the low-risk area only the three surrounding municipalities of the Burgas region.
The Commission's draft implementing decision falls under the new "Comitology" Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers. The draft decision has been supported by the Member States in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) under the "examination procedure" foreseen in that regulation.
As of 1st March 2011, the advisory, management, regulatory or safeguard, procedures defined and organised by the Council Decision 1999/468/EC have been “disabled” and are replaced by new advisory, examination and urgency procedures as they are defined and organised by the new "Comitology" Regulation.
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