New rules governing organic production and labeling in the European Union that are acceptable to and address the concerns of the organic movement were taken off the agenda until October 2017, after the European Parliament and the EU reached a provisional agreement for European organic regulation on June 28.
The new rules were designed to increase consumer trust in organic foodstuffs and unleash the sector′s potential for growth.
"After 20 months of negotiations, we have managed to reach an agreement, which will help the organic sector grow and will increase consumers' trust in organic foodstuffs. It was a laborious task but I believe new rules will bring benefits to both EU consumers and organic farmers," said rapporteur Martin Häusling (Greens/EFA, DE).
The new EU organic rules included stricter checks in the supply chain, new EU anti-contamination rules, and imported food compliance to EU standards.
On July 18, IFOAM EU Group stated that the organic regulation compromise taken off the agenda of the EU Agriculture Ministers’ meeting offers a chance to make the text workable.
IFOAM EU said the expected provisional endorsement on the outcomes of the last trialogue was taken off the agenda of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council.
"Even though the last compromise text took several of the organic movement’s concerns into account, it continues to present several potential implementation problems. These issues will need to be solved by the involved parties before the final official approval in the Council and the Parliament in autumn," IFOAM EU said.
Christopher Stopes, IFOAM EU President said: “The organic negotiations are one of the longest due to the complexity of the file covering from production to control and import systems. The organic sector needs a stable legislative framework; therefore, we appreciate that the institutions realized that there are still several issues that need to be sorted out before this new regulation can be implemented successfully.”
IFOAM EU Vice President for Policy Jan Plagge said the main goal of this process should be to have a workable regulation that is implementable on the ground. "It’s important that the final text does not jeopardize the development of organic, a sector that performs very well economically, environmentally and socially and for which consumer demand continues to increase," he said.
And Eduardo Cuoco, IFOAM EU Director, added: “Over the summer, the institutions will have the chance to address the compromise text’s shortcomings and make it practicable. IFOAM EU will continue to provide sector's expertise to the institutions in the months to come.”
The representatives of three EU Institutions – the Commission, the Maltese Presidency of the Council and the Parliament's negotiating team – reached a provisional agreement on the text for a new organic regulation during the trialogue of 28 June.
This agreement still needs the approval of the 28 National Agriculture Ministers (now expected in October) and of both the Parliament's Agriculture Committee (expected in October) and of the whole Parliament (expected at the end of the year/beginning of 2018), IFOAM EU said.