In a letter sent to Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski on Wednesday, Agriculture Committee Chair Norbert Lins (EPP, DE) welcomes the work the EU Commission has done so far in putting in place a “complex system of delegated and implementing acts”, which is necessary for the new EU organic law to be operational. But he fears that rushing through the approval of secondary legislation, without proper consultation, when farmers are preoccupied with tackling the effects of COVID-19, could do more harm than good.

The Parliament approved the new EU organic law in April 2018. New rules, due to become applicable in January 2021, should boost organic production and ensure that only high-quality organic food is sold in the EU.

The letter for Commissioner Wojciechowski was supported by a majority of political group coordinators. To postpone the application of the new organic law, the Commission would have to table a proposal to this end and the Parliament and Council would both have to endorse it.

“It is crucial to ensure that the rules that will shape the future of this important sector are adopted with proper consultation of all stakeholders and with [thorough] scrutiny from both co-legislators. Therefore, in light of the difficulties imposed by the current COVID-19 outbreak and considering that the sector needs legal stability, we consider that rushing through the adoption of the delegated acts is not the most suitable solution,” said Norbert Lins.

“We call on you [Commissioner Wojciechowski] to consider postponing the [date of] entry into application of the Organic Regulation from 1 January 2021 to a year later, 1 January 2022. This would ensure that the necessary secondary legislation is in place and Member States and the operators are given enough time to make a successful transition to the new [and] improved system of organic production,” he added.

“We (…) have the opportunity to show to all those interested that we are committed to improving the system of organic production, for everyone, from EU farmers and processors, third country producers to the final consumers. By ensuring an additional year for the adoption of this secondary legislation, we can make this already strong policy even stronger and further contribute to the common goal of sustainable food production,” concluded EPP’s MEP.