24 Feb 2017
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 24 FEBRUARYBrussels Daily
WTO confirms Russian pork ban is illegal
The WTO’s Appellate Body confirmed that Russia’s import ban from 2014 on live pigs, pork and other pig products from the EU violates international trade rules. The ruling concerns a ban imposed by Russia because of the outbreak of African Swine Fever in areas in the EU close to the border with Belarus. In August 2016, a WTO panel acknowledged that the Russian measures are not based on the relevant international standards and violate WTO rules. The ruling confirms this finding, thereby sending another strong signal to Russia and all WTO Members on their obligation to respect international standards and, in particular, the principle of regionalisation, which would allow trade from individual areas of a country which are recognised as pest or disease-free, independent of the health status in the rest of the country. The EU has one of the world’s most efficient animal health and food safety systems, including high detection levels and stringent risk management rules. EU products from disease-free areas are safe, and there is no need for any country to maintain unjustified import restrictions. The EU calls on Russia to withdraw its unjustified measures and allow EU companies to resume normal business with their Russian partners. More information is available here.
New Commission app for tracking invasive alien animals and plants in the EU
The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has developed an online application that will help citizens identify and share information about 37 Invasive Alien Speciesin Europe. ‘Invasive Alien Species Europe’, which contains detailed information about and photos of those animals and plants, makes it possible for citizens to use their phones’ navigation system and cameras to capture images of them. By sending the exact location of a sighting and a photo via the app, users contribute to crowdsourcing the maps showing where invasive aliens species occur, and help to build the European Alien Species Information Network. Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the JRC, said: “The beauty of this app is that it turns its users into citizen-scientists, helping to monitor invasive alien species that threaten biodiversity in the EU. The information collected will enrich existing insights into invasive alien species. In this way we also foster citizens’ awareness of the problems caused by invasive alien species in Europe.” The list for instance includes the American grey squirrel, which transfers a poxyvirus that is lethal to native red squirrels and leads to their local extinction, the raccoon, which can harbour and spread diseases affecting humans as well as farmed and wild animals, and the signal crayfish that carries the crayfish plague fungus and leads to the extinction of native crayfish. A small proportion of alien species become invasive and seriously disturb ecosystems, causing damage worth millions of euros in the EU every year. The application is free and can be downloaded for android and iOS.
The European Commission at the Salon de l’Agriculture in Paris
The International Salon of Agriculture opens tomorrow in Paris for a fortnight. This must-see event is an opportunity to take the pulse of the French and European agricultural sector and celebrate its successes, without forgetting the challenges and difficulties faced by French farmers. This year, two European Commissioners will visit the Agricultural Fair: Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and the Customs Union on Monday 27 February, and Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan on Thursday 2 March. On this occasion, the Commissioners will meet with representatives of farmers and agricultural producers in France. The European Commission will be present throughout the duration of the Show with an information booth to inform the public about the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Commissioner Hogan will present the prizes of the General Agricultural Competition to young farmers on Wednesday, March 1st. On his arrival in Paris on March 1st, Commissioner Hogan will meet with French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve , and the Minister of Agriculture, Stéphane le Foll. France remains the first beneficiary of the Common Agricultural Policy. https://en.salon-agriculture.com/
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