The entry into force today of a new Plant Health Regulation marks an important moment for the protection of agriculture, the food chain and the environment in the EU. In times when global trade intersects with climate change challenges, the plant pests outbreaks, such as the current case of Xylella fastidiosa, should and can be anticipated.
This legislation - when fully implemented by Member States by the end of 2019 - will ensure that the EU is better prepared to deal with these future outbreaks of plant pests, as well as reinforce the protection of the EU's territory from the entry of non-European pests.
This new legislation is the result of a great deal of hard work done by the Commission, the Council and the Parliament. I want to thank the representatives of the two co-legislators and in particular the successive Council Presidencies and the Rapporteurs of the European Parliament, Mr Fajmon, under the previous term, and Ms McIntyre, under the current one, for reaching an agreement in the political negotiations.
Early detection of plant pests, better action plans for eradication, higher surveillance rules for the import of high risk plants, enhanced rules for the certification of plant products are among the new provisions which will make sure that we deal in a timely and swift manner from the potentially devastating effects of some plant diseases.
I now count on the Member States to act responsibly when performing import controls and surveillance in their territories to avoid the presence of those pests.
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