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European Commission document targets high risk plants

Public consultation is open on a draft European Commission document. This sets out a list of high-risk plants, plant products and other objects which may be temporarily prohibited from crossing into the EU. This applies to imports from third-world countries until a risk assessment has been carried out.
 
The move stems from a wider recognition that certain plants brought into the EU host pests that have a major impact on plant species. These are of major economic, social or environmental importance to Union member countries.

Under the proposed legislation, the following high-risk plants would be prohibited pending assessment:

 
  • Acacia
  • Crataegus
  • Nerium
  • Acer
  • Cycas
  • Ostrya
  • Albizia
  • Diospyros
  • Persea
  • Alnus
  • Eucalyptus
  • Populus
  • Annona
  • Fagus
  • Prunus
  • Bauhinia
  • Ficus
  • Quercus
  • Berberis
  • Fraxinus
  • Salix
  • Betula
  • Hamamelis
  • Sorbus
  • Caesalpinia
  • Jasminum
  • Syringa
  • Cassia
  • Juglans
  • Taxus
  • Castanea
  • Ligustrum
  • Robinia
  • Cornus
  • Lonicera
  • Tilia
  • Corylus
  • Malus
  • Ulmus
This list is extensive and reflects the wide range of plants which currently pass between third-world countries and Europe
 

The proposed risk assessment system by the legislation would be undertaken by the third-world country wishing to export to the EU. This assessment will go to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), who will gauge the threat posed and make recommendations to the commission. At present it is not known how long this risk assessment will take.

Outlined on the following page are three possible outcomes for plants identified as high-risk (categorised under Annex I).
 
Outcome 1: Where the risk assessment concludes the plant, plant product or other object does not pose a risk. The specimen is removed from Article 42 Annex 1 (prohibited list) and subject to the same rules as all the other plants. Not on Annex II (a list of plants which do not need a phytosanitary certificate).  They would, however, need a basic phytosanitary certificate stating it was free from pest and diseases
 
Outcome 2: Where the risk assessment concludes a plant does pose a particularly high-risk. The plant is taken from the temporary list and added to a permanent list of prohibited items outlined in Article 40. This would be similar to the existing Annex 1 list of Directive 2000/29/EC.
 
Outcome 3: Where the risk assessment concludes a plant, plant product or other object does pose a risk. But, the risk could mitigate with implemented measures. Ensure all measures set out in the legislation are complied with.
 
If comments on this draft document are used to shape future legislation, stakeholders are advised to seize the opportunity to voice their views on high-risk plants.
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