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Review of the Common Plant Health Regime (CPHR)

The European Commission is developing a new plant health regime. An evaluation of the existing plant health regime has been carried out (2009-2010). The Commission Work Programme foresees adoption by the Commission of a proposal for a new plant health law by 2012. The reasons for developing a new plant health law and information on the review process are presented below.

Objective of the Common plant health regime

The Common plant health regime (CPHR) aims to protect the EU against the harm caused by the introduction and spread of harmful organisms, and thus to:

  • Contribute to sustainable production through plant health protection;
  • Ensure competitiveness of the agriculture complex;
  • Contribute to the protection of public and private green, forests, and the landscape (the natural environment);
  • Ensure food security.

Evolution of the regime

The CPHR is the product of decades of legislation. Initially, plant health was a national responsibility, secured through national control measures and border controls between Member States. In 1969, two Council Directives were adopted to harmonize the control measures for quarantine diseases of potato known to be established in several MS. In 1976, the Standing Committee for Plant Health (SCPH) was set up. The basic structure of the current regime was conceived in 1977 with Council Directive 77/93/EEC, which provided a framework governing import into the EC and intra-Community trade. Harmful organisms were listed in Annexes to the Directive. With the introduction of the Community internal market in 1993, the concept of plant passports was introduced so as to allow free movement of plants and plant products between and within Member States. Since the 2000 codification, the basic legal framework is known as Council Directive 2000/29/EC.

Since its inception, various major changes and developments have taken place in relation to the CPHR which justify a comprehensive evaluation of the regime. These include:

  • The enlargement of the European Community;
  • The introduction of the internal market concept;
  • Developments concerning international treaties;
  • Globalization and changed expectations from society;
  • Decreasing resources for public services;
  • Erosion of the scientific expertise underpinning the CPHR;
  • The establishment of EFSA;
  • Evolution of related Community regimes.

Need for an evaluation

In 2008, the Commission considered that the CPHR needed to be evaluated. On 21 November 2008, the Council supported the need for a comprehensive evaluation of the CPHR and invited the Commission to develop, based on the outcome of the evaluation, a Community plant health strategy (Council Conclusions of 21 November 2008). The Commission decided to review the entire Community plant health acquis.

The terms of reference for the evaluation study were developed in 2009, after consultation of the stakeholders and Member State authorities and in coordination with the Inter-Service Steering Group that was set up for the evaluation. A separate web page provides background information on the evaluation process. The study was contracted out to the Food Chain Evaluation Consortium (FCEC), which started the work in June 2009 and delivered its report at the end of May 2010. The report was made available on this site in July 2010.

The interim findings of the evaluation and preliminary options for the future have been presented and discussed in the conference "Modernising the Common Plant Health Regime in view of globalisation and climate change", which took place in Brussels on 23-24 February 2010.

The final report of the evaluation was presented at the conference "Towards a new EU plant health law" on 28 September 2010.

Development of a new EU plant health law

In the light of the urgency to put in place a new plant health strategy and revised plant health legislation, the Commission has included the plant health review in the Commission Work Programme (CWP) which lists the major policy initiatives for the near future. The CWP foresees adoption by the Commission of a proposal for the new plant health law by 2012.

Commission initiatives with significant impacts should be accompanied by an impact assessment (IA). To provide transparency on planned IA work, the Commission's services prepare Roadmaps for initiatives that are likely to have significant impacts. A Roadmap on the Modernisation of the existing plant health regime in view of globalisation and climate change ("New plant health strategy") is available.

Consultation of stakeholders of the plant health regime is a key element of the review and the impact assessment.

Economic study to support the impact assessment

In order to support the Commission's services to carry out the impact assessment, a supplementary economic study has been commissioned. The study has been contracted out to the Food Chain Evaluation Consortium (FCEC). Information on the impacts of options recommended in the evaluation report will be collected through desk studies, questionnaires and telephone interviews with stakeholders and Member State authorities.

Further information on the review of the regime

Please click the following links for further information:

Replies received to public consultation

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