German organic apples

The European Commission has announced that the upcoming EU Organic Action Plan will be open to public consultation until 27 November, in addition to proposing a delay on the entry into force of new organic regulation by one year, with secondary legislation still to be adopted by Member States.

The announcement was welcomed by organic farming organisation IFOAM Organic Europe, whose president, Jan Plagge, said that a new EU Action Plan for organic farming was “crucial” to make Europe more organic and demanded that it include concrete steps.

“The future action plan should be up to the ambition of the Biodiversity and Farm to Fork strategies to reach 25 per cent organic land in the EU by 2030, with time-bound targets, an adequate budget and a real influence on the CAP national strategic plans. We already welcome the Commission plans to allocate a budget of €40m to organic farming under the promotion policy in 2021.”

Such concrete steps, he said, were necessary to boost demand and raise awareness of the benefits of organic production.

“Postponing the entry into force of the new organic regulation is a wise decision that will allow Member States to properly finish the work on the secondary legislation,” said Eduardo Cuoco, director of IFOAM Organics Europe. “We commend the European Commission for listening to the concerns of organic farmers, processors, retailers and certifiers all over Europe, who need the assurance that they will have sufficient time to adapt to the new rules and to maintain the quality of the organic control system. We now urge the European Parliament to accept this proposal without delay through a simplified procedure.”

The aim of the plan is to examine how organic production can help the agri-food sector boost its sustainability throughout the supply chain, developing both demand for organic products and organic production.

The new organic regulation was initially meant to enter into force on 1 January 2021, but many of the technical requirements remain to be discussed and adopted by Member States.

According to IFOAM Organics Europe, this leaves “only a few weeks for organic operators to adapt to the new rules and for organic certifiers to be accredited according to the new organic rules”.

“Allowing the institutions more time to finalise the discussions on this complex set of secondary legislation is necessary to ensure the quality and implementability of the future organic rules,” the organisation stated.