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MEPs Criticised on Vote to Impose Inspection Costs

25 February 2014

EU - Copa-Cogeca has expressed serious concerns about European Parliaments Environment Committee vote to impose a fee on farmers and agri-cooperatives for the cost of inspections carried out by authorities as part of the new draft EU legislation on official controls in the area of animal welfare, animal health, plant health, food and feed law.

Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen warned this is unacceptable.

Pekka Pesonen stressed: "European farmers and their cooperatives are already up against increasing challenges, like high input costs, high production standards, costly regulations and obligations. They have to comply with a great number of requirements under the so called cross compliance rules under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which has not been recognised under this proposal. It is unacceptable that farmers and agri-cooperatives should bear the additional burden of an increased fee."

He continued: “It really makes no sense to send invoices to millions of farmers for every inspection and official control carried out. We fear that this would cost more in terms of administration than providing any real return for the authorities. Furthermore, the additional cost of the fee cannot be passed down the food chain so farmers, whose incomes are already half the average level, have to bear the full brunt of it. And they already pay for controls in the up and down stream sector.”

"Copa-Cogeca consequently urges the EU institutions to ensure that these fees are not imposed on farmers and agri-cooperatives.

"Copa-Cogeca favours effective and risk-based controls and is concerned that the number of areas covered by the Commission’s proposal has also been reduced. The vote means that plant propagating material like seeds and species not native in the EU (so-called invasive alien species) which are both well addressed in the Commission’s proposal are not covered. This will threaten the EU’s aim to ensure healthy crops and plants and a safe food chain in the EU. Copa-Cogeca has always called on the need to build on the existing control system and ensure that we have a coordinated and effective way of controls across Member States."

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