« The latest oil production estimates for Salento are a cause for serious concern: 100 000 quintals of oil are expected to be produced in 2017, compared with 300 000 last year. In a short space of time, the olive-growing sector in Salento has seen its production drop drastically, by up to 60%, with profits taking a nosedive.
In May 2016, the Commission guaranteed that two varieties of olive would be replanted, the Leccino and the Favolosa, which would be resistant to bacteria in the areas infected by Xylella, more specifically in the province of Lecce. Nonetheless, to date no decisions have been made in this regard.
Given the vital importance of re-launching the business activities of olive-growers in Salento, does the Commission intend to take steps, within its jurisdiction, to:
— abolish the ban on replanting, amending Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/789 of 18 May 2015;
— identify incentives for producers in Salento who adopt suitable prevention measures;
— intensify research efforts, and bolster international cooperation with sufficient financial resources for the institutions to increase their scientific knowledge of Xylella fastidiosa and accurately identify the nature of the interaction between the pathogen, the symptoms and the development of the disease? »
Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission, 4.12.2017
1. Commission Implementing Directive (EU) 2017/12791, amending Directive 2000/29/EC2, was adopted on 14 July 2017 and will apply from 1 January 2018. The European Parliament had earlier adopted a resolution objecting to some of the elements of the draft Directive. In addition, comments were received when the draft Commission Implementing Directive was published for feedback (September-October 2016). Based on all comments received, the draft was changed and re-discussed in the relevant Standing Committee3. Certain elements of the resolution were included in the adopted Directive, such as the option of cold treatment for Thaumatotibia leucotreta, as presented in the Commission’s written follow-up to the European Parliament’s resolution4. As explained in this written follow-up, Commission Implementing Directive (EU) 2017/1279 is fully in line with the principles of Regulation 2016/20315.
2. All contracting parties to the International Plant Protection Convention and World Trade Organization (WTO) members are subject to the same phytosanitary and trade-related guidelines. Phytosanitary import restrictions need to be science- and risk-based, balanced and proportionate. Every WTO Member has the right to determine its level of protection on condition that the principles of the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement are followed. The EU plant health system is based on protection against specified quarantine pests and restrictions for related host plant material. While a full comparison of the EU import requirements with those of non-EU countries is difficult, there are no indications that the EU model is less efficient than models used by other trading partners.