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New European rules for organic farming confirmed

On 20 November 2017 member states of the European Union (EU) represented in the Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA) endorsed the deal on the overhaul of existing rules on organic production and labelling of organic products, for which a provisional agreement with the European Parliament had been reached on 28 June.

According to the council of the European Union, the aim of the new EU rules is set more modern and uniform rules across the EU with the aim of encouraging the sustainable development of organic production in the EU. They also aim to guarantee fair competition for farmers and operators, prevent fraud and unfair practices and improve consumer confidence in organic products.

Next steps: Following approval by the SCA, the spokesperson of the SCA will send a letter to the chairperson of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. That letter will indicate that, if the Parliament adopts at its plenary session the compromise text as approved by the SCA, the Council will adopt the same text in first reading without amendments. The new regulation will apply from 1 January 2021.

IFOAM EU, the representation of the European organic sector in Brussels, acknowledges the huge effort made by the institutions to improve the text and that a number of concerns highlighted by IFOAM EU have been taken into consideration and improvements have been made. Nevertheless, according to IFOAM EU, the lack of a strong majority in both the SCA and the AGRI Committee of the European Parliament has shown the fragility of the text, which includes a number of inconsistencies that will make the practical implementation of the regulation very difficult. 

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