In 2004, the Commission launched an Action Plan to develop organic farming in Europe, which gave further impetus to the sector.
The European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming included 21 initiatives to achieve the objectives of developing the market for organic food and improving standards by increasing efficacy, transparency and consumer confidence.
The plan proposed measures such as improving information about organic farming, streamlining public support via rural development, improving production standards or strengthening research. It followed the rapid increase in the number of farmers producing organically and strong demand from consumers during the past few years.
The plan was based on extensive consultations with Member States and stakeholders including an online consultation in 2003, a public hearing in January 2004 and meetings with Member States and stakeholder groups.
The Action Plan comprises the two documents below:
- Official Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament setting out 21 actions.
- Commission staff working document containing a background analysis and comprehensive description of the proposals.
In January 2013 the Commission has launched a Consultation for the review of the European policy on organic agriculture.
This consultation has also been an opportunity to consult the public on areas where a new action plan might be needed.
The results of the public consultation will feed the ongoing review of the political and legal framework for organic agriculture in Europe, with an overall strategy to be put forward in early 2014.