Since 1977 to 2019 the Council Directive 2000/29/EC on measures to protect the health of EU plants has been considered as the main legal act of the European union, which has been transposed into national legislation of the EU Member States and the other European countries, which want to become once the memeber states. All these created so called “Lists of pests, plants, plant products and other regulated objects” which are under the phytosanitary legislation, including official controls (an example of North Macedonia).
Directive 2000/29/EC aims to protect plants from harmful organisms (pests and diseases) by both preventing their import into the EU and limiting their spread if they do enter. Key points are:
- Each country must establish an authority responsible for plant health and ban the import of organisms and plants which are considered harmful.
- The legislation covers living plants and seeds, notably fruit, vegetables, bulbs, cut flowers, branches, cut trees and plant tissue.
- Plant producers, distributors and importers must be listed in an official register.
- Certain plants and plant products grown in the country must undergo a health inspection on the premises at least once a year.
- Plants that satisfy the inspection are given a phytosanitary certificate for export or they bear an agreed mark, called (a plant passport). This is essential for plants being transported outside a place of production and across the border to another country.
- Plants which do not satisfy the certificate’s conditions are either treated, moved to an area where they pose no risk, sent for industrial processing or they are destroyed.
- National authorities must conduct random checks on plants where they are grown, stored, sold or transported.
- National authorities must check certain plants coming from third countries. The inspections cover their packaging and phytosanitary certificate, issued no more than 14 days before their import. They are also subjected to identity and plant health checks at the border inspection point.
- Where imported plants do not meet the required standards, they may be treated, placed in quarantine, destroyed or the infected produce removed.
- EU countries must notify each other and the European Commission, as well as the third country concerned if applicable, when any harmful organisms are detected and take all necessary measures to destroy them. Such obligation exists also among other countries, which are contracting parties to the International Plant Protection Convention (standard ISPM 13).
In May 2013, the European Commission proposed a new EU plant health regulation together with a package of legal acts of new plant health regime.
On 14 of December 2019, the Directive 2000/29 EC is going to be replaced by Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 of the European Parliament of the Council of 26 October 2016 on protective measures against pests of plants, which is going to include in special implementing act also all annexes of the directive (they will only be renamed and reorganised).
COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2019/2072 of 28 November 2019 ( OJ L 319, 10.12.2019 ) enters into force on 14 December 2019 by:
- establishing uniform conditions for the implementation of Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 of the European Parliament and the Council, as regards protective measures against pests of plants, and
- repealing Commission Regulation (EC) No 690/2008 on recognised protected zones and
- amending Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2019 by deleting its Article 2 and Annex II on list of plants, which do not require a phytosanitary certificate for the introduction into the EU of the fruits listed.
- The only plants, which do not require a phytosanitary certificate, issued by exporting phytosanitary inspector for the import into the EU, are fruits: pineapples, coconuts, durians, bananas and dates.
- All the other plants and plant products need a phytosanitary certificate from country of export and a prior notification of import across selected border control post of the EU by a registered shipment agent using TRACES NT system (help, acceptance, training).
- Also other countries are enouraged to become paperless certification authorities using the global ePhyto system.
All pieces of EU legislation are compliant with International Plant Protection Convention and its International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs).