Not only is the status of the UK’s organic regulations a hot topic of industry discussion, but on Friday 1 July the Slovak Republic took over the Presidency of the Council of the EU from the Netherlands, now the sixth Presidency in a row to work on the organic dossier, IFOAM EU reported.
Despite the Brexit vote, UK organic certification group and advocate the Soil Association said that the UK is “likely” to continue to be bound by the EU organic regulations and standards to maintain the flow of organic products to and from the EU.
The Soil Association stated that UK wildlife, the environment, and the organic farming sector have been major beneficiaries of EU membership, where the precautionary principle prevails in policy making.
“Thanks to EU policy, the UK has cleaned up its act as ‘the dirty man of Europe’ and now has cleaner beaches, rivers and better protection for wildlife, including our vital pollinators as a direct result of EU membership. It is vital that these gains are secured,” it said.
IFOAM EU said that for the next semester, the Slovaks will negotiate for the Council of the EU in discussions with the EU Commission and Parliament on the new organic regulation.
“IFOAM EU would like to acknowledge the commitment and effort of the Dutch Presidency to reach an agreement on the organic regulation during its term,” said Bavo van den Idsert, IFOAM EU board member.
“Although progress has been made in some crucial areas, the end of the negotiations does not seem to be in sight and while discussions continue at political level, organic farmers and processors across the EU – and beyond – must continue to run their businesses not knowing what the rules will be in the near future”
“Before presenting its work programme for 2015, the Commission reviewed all the pending legislative proposals, including the organic one” added Jan Plagge, IFOAM EU vice president. “At the time, it was said that the organic regulation proposal would be withdrawn and replaced by a new initiative if no agreement was reached in the next six months. It is now 18 months later and the organic dossier is still on the table, with viewpoints diverging significantly on crucial areas. Further delay is not acceptable.”
“IFOAM EU welcomes the Slovak Presidency, which will have the great responsibility of guiding the ‘organic’ negotiations in the next 6 months” said Eduardo Cuoco, IFOAM EU director.
“Year after year, organic is the most promising agricultural sector and consumer demand for organic is growing at almost triple the rate of the rest of the food industry. Organic delivers growth, jobs and consumer satisfaction, as well as benefits to the environment and animal welfare.”