POSZERZENIE UNII EUROPEJSKIEJ

EUROPEAN UNION ENLARGEMENT


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„Obserwatorium 100 dni w Unii Europejskiej.
Raport rolniczych, ekologicznych i konsumenckich organizacji pozarządowych”
 



 

DATA ON POLAND
COMPARED TO THE ENLARGED EUROPEAN UNION (EU25)

DANE DOTYCZĄCE POLSKI
W PORÓWNANIU Z INNYMI KRAJAMI NOWEJ UNII EUROPEJSKIEJ (EU25)







 
 
 
 

miesięcznik „ŚWIAT KONSUMENTA”
Rok 2004, Nr 10 (październik), str. 42 -43

Zbigniew Hałat

100 DNI? Z NIMI TO CHYBA 100 LAT!

Niedawno Fundacja IUCN Poland oraz Instytut na rzecz Ekorozwoju przedstawiły dokument „Obserwatorium 100 dni w Unii Europejskiej. Raport rolniczych, ekologicznych i konsumenckich organizacji pozarządowych”. Zadany mi jeden z sześciu rozdziałów raportu otwiera akapit o argumentacji, którą czytelnicy „Świata Konsumenta” poznali już w maju 2004r. z  Kolejne akapity w ramce: 
 
 

Ochrona zdrowia konsumentów żywności w świetle materiałów prasowych po 1 maja 2004 r.: Powołując się Inspekcję Weterynaryjną prasa poinformowała, że po 1 maja 2004 r. zamknięto 193 zakłady mięsne, 15 mleczarni i 34 zakłady rybne. Spośród nadal produkujących 1672 zakładów mięsnych normy unijne spełnia 75%, spośród 348 mleczarni – 60%, a spośród 215 zakładów rybnych – 70%. Zgoda Komisji Europejskiej na zwolnienie 721 zakładów spożywczych z obowiązku stosowania europejskich wymogów czystości w niektórych przypadkach nawet do końca 2007 roku pod warunkiem, że będą sprzedawały swoje produkty tylko na rynku krajowym, podkopuje fundamenty jednolitego wspólnego rynku europejskiego. Jeżeli dozwolone w Unii Europejskiej składniki żywności i procesy technologiczne zmuszają do spełniania wysokonakładowych norm sanitarnych w zakładach przetwórstwa spożywczego, należało zapewnić polskim firmom odpowiednie warunki ekonomiczne w okresie dostosowawczym i bezwzględnie wyegzekwować ich stosowanie zgodne z wymaganiami ochrony zdrowia konsumenta. Tak się nie stało, trzeba zatem stwierdzić, że Komisja Europejska naraziła konsumentów kupujących produkty spożywcze na polskim obszarze celnym na systemową dyskryminację i zagrożenie zdrowia na masową skalę. Ujawniane kolejne dowody na skorumpowanie służb weterynaryjnych – od centralnych po lekarzy weterynarii oddających zastrzeżone dla ich zawodu czynności kontrolne w ręce techników, finansowa i programowa słabość państwowej inspekcji sanitarnej, której skutkiem są zamknięte laboratoria i ograniczone limity na dojazd do nadzorowanych obiektów, znajdują swoje odzwierciedlenie w licznych materiałach prasy, radia i telewizji.

Wnioski: Zagrożenia zdrowia konsumentów są dostrzegalne gołym okiem. Kontrola żywności i pasz na obecność kancero- i teratogennych dioksyn wymaga specjalistycznej wiedzy i stosowania bardzo kosztownych analiz w akredytowanych laboratoriach. Wytyczne Unii Europejskiej z lipca 2004 roku przewidują wstrzymanie produkcji mleka, jaj, mięsa i ryb w gospodarstwie, z którego pochodzą skażone dioksynami produkty, ich zniszczenie lub odpowiednie przetworzenie. Jednak kolejne rządy Polski nie dostrzegają epidemii raka wśród ludzi w sile wieku. Władze pozostają głuche na argumenty Stowarzyszenia Ochrony Zdrowia Konsumentów i innych niezależnych organizacji pozarządowych, natomiast dopuszczają się poważnego nadużycia mechanizmów demokratycznych. Po 100 dniach od akcesji utrwala się relikt komunizmu – cyniczne zastępowanie dialogu społecznego „konsultacją” z etatowymi urzędnikami pararządowej organizacji konsumenckiej. Po 100 dniach od przystąpienia Polski do Unii Europejskiej nie zadziałał żaden mechanizm podnoszący poziom bezpieczeństwa żywności do wymaganego na jednolitym wspólnym rynku europejskim. Niesprawność służb sanitarnych pogłębia systemową dyskryminację konsumentów kupujących produkty spożywcze na polskim obszarze celnym.

Zalecenia: Należy natychmiast przystąpić do rewizji sposobu tworzenia i egzekwowania prawa sanitarnego przez koordynatora strategii bezpieczeństwa żywności, którym jest minister zdrowia, oraz przewodniczącego zespołu ds. bezpieczeństwa żywności, którym jest główny inspektor sanitarny. Od Komisji Europejskiej należy zażądać wykorzystania wszystkich możliwych narzędzi prawnych i ekonomicznych zapewniających konsumentom kupującym produkty spożywcze na polskim obszarze celnym taką jakość żywności, jaka obowiązuje na jednolitym wspólnym rynku europejskim. Wytwórców żywności należy poinformować o ryzyku kompromitacji i utraty rynków zbytu w wyniku nieuchronnej akcji konkurentów ujawniającej szkodliwe dla zdrowia konsumenta zanieczyszczenia w produktach z Polski postrzeganych jako tanie i smaczne.

Cieszę się szczerze, że polscy i międzynarodowi reprezentanci społeczeństwa obywatelskiego stanęli w obronie zdrowia Polaków i dla podkreślenia kontrastowego tła przytaczam fragment swojego artykułu z publikacji "Głos organizacji pozarządowych w sprawie strategii zrównoważonego rozwoju Unii Europejskiej" z 2002r.: „Polskie władze odsuwają od siebie odpowiedzialność za zależne od środowiska zdrowie własnych obywateli, turystów i konsumentów polskich produktów. Zamiast dążyć do usunięcia lub minimalizacji zagrożeń, kolejne zastępy polityków wykazują się karygodną arogancją i ignorancją w sprawach medycyny środowiskowej. Z kolei tzw. pomoc Zachodu w zbyt wielkim zakresie okazała się albo narzędziem lobbingu na rzecz przejęcia publicznej własności, albo sposobem na utrzymanie lukratywnych posad zastępów besserwisserów wchodzących w skład tzw. "brygad Marriotta". Zadziwiające, że koszty tych bezwartościowych a nawet szkodliwych dla polskich interesów konsultacji pokrywała i nadal pokrywa Polska (np. gdy były one finansowane z pożyczek Banku Światowego) albo zostały zapisane na konto Polski, np. w ramach PHARE. Podczas plenarnej sesji Europejskiego Komitetu Ekonomiczno-Społecznego w dniu 24. kwietnia 2002r. z udziałem współprzewodniczących tzw. Wspólnych Komitetów Konsultacyjnych, których zadaniem jest pośredniczyć pomiędzy społeczeństwami obywatelskimi w krajach Unii i krajach kandydackich pani Małgorzata Niepokulczycka reprezentująca polskie organizacje społeczeństwa obywatelskiego (sic!) wyraziła opinię, że Komisja Europejska powinna wykazać się bardziej konkretnym wsparciem w celu wspomożenia grup interesu. W odpowiedzi pan komisarz Günter Verheugen określił Polskę jako największego odbiorcę pomocy Unii Europejskiej, jaka kiedykolwiek była udzielana. O stosunku grup interesu do polskich konsumentów i ekologów niech zaświadczy poniższy fragment pisma stowarzyszenia osób fizycznych o nazwie Polska Federacja Producentów Żywności, w którego skład we wrześniu 2000r. wchodzili pracownicy następujących "polskich" koncernów: Monsanto, Novartis, Cargill, Kraft Jacobs Suchard, Universal Leaf Tobacco, Cadbury, Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola Frito Lay, Heinz, Nestle, Procter&Gamble, Unilever i Wrigley. Pismo dotyczyło zapytania, które Społeczny Instytut Ekologiczny skierował do producentów żywności, czy w ich produktach znajdują się genetycznie zmodyfikowane organizmy. Reakcja była piorunująca: sekretarz Federacji w liście do Instytutu pozwolił sobie ocenić tę ankietę w następujących słowach "działanie pogarszające relacje pomiędzy producentami i konsumentami żywności nie wydaje nam się słuszne i uzasadnione, lecz na zasługujące na społeczną dezaprobatę".  Interesujące jest, czy podatnicy w Unii Europejskiej i komisarz Verheugen, zdają sobie sprawę z faktu, że to z funduszu PHARE opłacana jest działalność grupy interesu będącej stowarzyszeniem osób fizycznych - pracowników ponadnarodowych koncernów, która przejawia się w bezprecedensowej arogancji i agresji w stosunku do organizacji pozarządowej (nie pararządowej, a więc będącej rzeczywistym a nie zależnym od budżetu państwa przedstawicielem społeczeństwa obywatelskiego) wyrażającej słuszny niepokój o niekontrolowany zalew polskiego rynku produktami inżynierii genetycznej.” 

Co jeszcze można zrobić za pieniądze PHARE? Można sprawdzić, czy służby kontrolujące bezpieczeństwo żywności dopuszczają do obrotu zagrażającymi zdrowiu konsumentów produktami pierwszej potrzeby, jak zboża, owoce, warzywa, mleko, jaja, mięso i ich podstawowe przetwory. Kiedy jest dużo dużo więcej pieniędzy można też zbadać płatki śniadaniowe i czipsy. I słusznie, bo jak pamiętają czytelnicy „Świata Konsumenta” w grudniu 2003r. podałem szereg powodów, dla których adresowana do środowisk dziecięco-młodzieżowych reklama takich czipsów powinna być stanowczo zakazana. W Polsce wyniszczanej epidemią raka wśród młodych ludzi należy dążyć do wyeliminowania wszystkich źródeł substancji rakotwórczych, w tym płatków i czipsów zawierających akryloamid.

Jak doniósł dziennik „Rzeczpospolita” z 15. września 2004r. „Polskie Towarzystwo Ekonomiki Gospodarstwa Domowego wraz ze Stowarzyszeniem Konsumentów Polskich oraz Federacją Konsumentów przeprowadziły ostatnio testy płatków śniadaniowych oraz chipsów. Testy płatków i chipsów wykonały: Polskie Centrum Badań i Certyfikacji, Instytut Biotechnologii Przemysłu Rolno-Spożywczego, Instytut Przemysłu Mięsnego i Tłuszczowego, Laboratorium Oceny Żywności i Diagnostyki Zdrowotnej SGGW. (…) Potwierdziły one dobrą jakość produktów, wszystkie badane parametry były znacznie niższe od limitów określonych w przepisach. Ulotki w tej sprawie trafią wkrótce do konsumentów.” Inny dziennik z tego samego dnia – „Trybuna” - ujawnia źródło finansowania ambitnego przedsięwzięcia: „pierwszy test konsumencki zgodnie ze standardami światowymi przeprowadzono dopiero teraz dzięki wsparciu z funduszu PHARE”. A teraz pointa: ani w płatkach ani w czipsach nie zbadano akryloamidu! Tymczasem amerykański Urząd ds. Żywności i Leków wiosną b. r. opublikował wyniki badań niektórych artykułów spożywczych na obecność akryloamidu. Wśród  znanych także w Polsce marek chipsów rekordy biją Baked! Lay's Original Naturally Baked Potato Crisps - 1096 mikrogramów akryloamidu na kilogram, drugie miejsce przypada próbce Lay's Classic Potato Chips, code date Dec. 10, bag 4 -  549 mikrogramów akryloamidu na kilogram. Wśród znanych w Polsce marek płatków śniadaniowych rekord należy do Kellogg's Raisin Bran – 156 mikrogramów akryloamidu na kilogram. Wypada dodać, że dozwolone stężenie tej trucizny w wodzie wodociągowej jest wielokrotnie niższe i nie może przekraczać 0,1 mikrograma akryloamidu na litr! A skąd wziął się ten problem? Poliakryloamid to aż 25 - 30% postaci handlowych pestycydów, przy czym szczególny niepokój budzi herbicyd Roundup firmy Monsanto (glifosat), bo wpływając na rozpuszczalność polimeru ułatwia jego rozpad pod wpływem ciepła i światła. 

Literatura: (1) Smith E, Prues S, Ochme F. Environmental degradation of polyacrylamides: Effect of artificial environmental conditions. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 1996, 35,121-35. (2) Smith E, Prues S,  Ochme F. Environmental degradation of polyacrylamides: II Effects of outdoor exposure. Ecotoxicology and Environmetal Safety 1997, 37,76-91. (3) Fischer K, Kotalik J, Kettrup A. Determination of acrylamide monomer in polyacrylamide degradation studies by high performance liquid chromatography. Journal of Chromatographic Science 1999, 37, 486-94.
 


 
Według prognoz z grudnia 2001,
aby Polak w 2004r. mógł osiągnąć 
45%  zdolności nabywczej obywatela kraju Unii Europejskiej
wskaźnik przyrostu naszej gospodarki w latach 2001-2004 
musiałby sięgać 3,5%, co pozwalałoby prognozować,
że uzyskanie przez Polaka
75% zdolności nabywczej obywatela kraju Unii Europejskiej
byłoby możliwe za 33 lata (w przypadku Rumuna - 34 lata, Turka - 32 lata).

Niestety zdolność nabywcza mieszkańców wielu województw
jest znacznie niższa niż średnia dla całego kraju,
a wskażnik przyrostu polskiej gospodarki w latach 2001-2002
nawet nie zbliżył się do pożądanego 3,5%

W tej sytuacji szanse na wyrównanie zdolności nabywczej
Polaków i obywateli krajów członkowskich Unii Europejskiej
 przenoszą się na nieodgadnioną liczbę następnych pokoleń.

 

Some candidates generations away from catching up with EU
December 6, 2001

  GDP real annual growth rates
  1996-2000         2001-2004
GDP per capita in PPS* 
(% of EU)
  1996    2000    2004 
years to reaching 75% 
of EU-15 average
Bulgaria
-1.3
6.1
24.9
24.1
30.6
31
Cyprus
3.7
4.5
79.6
82.6
98.4
-
Czech R.
0.9
3.8
64.9
60.1
68.0
15
Estonia
5.1
5.8
33.2
38.0
47.6
19
Hungary
4.0
5.3
46.6
52.0
64.0
11
Latvia
4.7
5.7
25.2
29.3
36.5
27
Lithuania
3.2
4.7
28.7
29.2
35.2
31
Malta
4.3
3.5
50.7
53.2
60.5
30
Poland
5.2
3.5
35.6
38.9
45.0
33
Romania
-1.6
5.0
33.1
26.9
32.8
34
Slovakia
4.6
4.5
46.2
48.1
55.9
20
Slovenia
3.9
3.8
66.0
71.6
85.3
1
Turkey
3.9
1.4
30.0
28.6
31.2
32

* PPS: purchasing power standards



 

Warszawa, 16. stycznia 2003r.

Redakcja Programu TYDZIEŃ
TVP Program I

Szanowni Państwo,

W miniony wtorek, t. j. 14. stycznia 2003r., przewodniczący niezależnej brytyjskiej Agencji ds Bezpieczeństwa Żywności (Food Standards Agency), sir John Krebs, podczas dorocznego wykładu dla przedstawicieli ponad 800 sektora spożywczego oraz organizacji konsumenckich wygłosił przemówienie p. t.  "Protecting consumers in the future world market" poświęcone zaufaniu konsumenta do żywności.

Dzień później BBC podjęła jeden z licznych wątków tego ważnego i bardzo interesującego przemówienia, akurat dotyczący między innymi Polski, jako kraju-kandydata do Unii Europejskiej.

Oto sir Krebs ostrzegł, że poszerzenie Unii Europejskiej może zwiększyć zagrożenie zdrowia. gdyż będzie trudniej działać w zakresie nadzoru i kontroli , jak też i pojawi się ryzyko nielegalnego importu do Wielkiej Brytanii.

Zanim zakłady produkcyjne niedotrzymujące wymogów unijnych zostaną zmodernizowane bądź zamknięte, produkty zgodne ze standardami Unii będą musiały być segregowane od pozostałych. Pojawi się możliwość przypadkowego pomieszania produktów lub oszustwa, co pociągnie za sobą utratę zaufania konsumentów, kiedy i o ile sprawa zostanie ujawnionia. Stąd nie tylko europejska sieć organów nadzoru i kontroli odegra swoją rolę, ale też przemysł musi wykazać się czujnością w sprawdzaniu źródeł swojego zaopatrzenia, aby zapewnić przestrzeganie bezpieczeństwa i standardów.

W związku z powyższym podaję treść informacji, która od października 2000r. jest publicznie dostępna na stronie internetowej Stowarzyszenia Ochrony Zdrowia Konsumentów (SOZK) http://www.halat.pl/stowarzyszenie.html :

"Obserwując rozwój  sytuacji w naszym kraju, musieliśmy przyznać rację Panu Dawidowi Byrne, Komisarzowi Unii Europejskiej do spraw zdrowia publicznego i ochrony konsumenta, który podczas spotkania w dniu 13. października 2000r. powiedział nam, że -  jego zdaniem - użycie słowa "ochrona" w odniesieniu do konsumenta sugeruje zbyt defensywne podejście do sprawy.

Dlatego podjęliśmy się redagowania nowego działu czasopisma Ruchu Ochrony Zdrowia "ZAGROŻENIA ZDROWIA W POLSCE": SIŁA KONSUMENTA - CONSUMER POWER

Podczas tego samego spotkania Preses SOZK w obecności wszystkich zebranych postawił Komisarzowi Unii Europejskiej zapytanie w sprawie dopuszczalności podwójnych standardów jakości żywności: "Czy przewidywane jest dopuszczenie do obrotu na terenie państw - nowych członków Unii Europejskiej żywności niespełniającej unijnych wymogów jakości zdrowotnej?" Padła odpowiedź przecząca. Inną opinię prezentował rząd RP. 

Za każdą z tych postaw krył się głęboki pragmatyzm. 

Konsumenci  Unii Europejskiej nie chcą ryzykować, a w ówczesnym budżecie brakowało 26 miliardów nowych złotych na zlikwidowanie zagrożeń związanych z samym mlekiem i mięsem. Środków tych nie zaplanowano, a te zaplanowane, a nawet przekazane do realizacji ustawowych celów instytucji państwowych odpowiedzialnych za zdrowie ludzi,wydatkowano w sposób niezgodny z przeznaczeniem.

Jak widać korupcja niszczy wszystko i to na długie lata. Także korupcja polityczna inspektorów i ich ekspertów.

Z poważaniem

dr Zbigniew Hałat
Prezes Stowarzyszenia Ochrony Zdrowia Konsumentów
http://www.halat.pl/stowarzyszenie.html
e-mail: stowarzyszenie@halat.pl


Reuters, October 5, 2002

RPT-EU to warn Poland against complacency before entry

By Marcin Grajewski

BRUSSELS, Oct 5 (Reuters) - A keenly awaited European Union report on Poland will give the country a green light next week to join the EU in 2004 but also urge the candidate to fight corruption, strengthen borders and reform its farm sector.

The annual progress report of the EU's executive, seen by Reuters on Saturday, praises Poland for adapting its laws and economy to EU standards, but says the country must build a stronger administration to implement legislation.

The European Commission is to publish reports on 13 candidate countries on October 9. An EU source said Poland and nine others will be recommended as fit to conclude entry talks.

The 150-page report on Poland, the biggest of the 10 candidates, highlights many areas of concern, including a weak judicial system, mounting unemployment and the government's opaque fiscal policies.

The report did not contain the Commission's final recommendation on Poland's readiness to join the EU because that will be added just before the report's publication.

The Commission was especially critical of the country's slow reforms of its outmoded and fragmented agriculture industry.

It said works on creating the IACS or animal registration system were seriously lagging behind, posing a threat to Poland's ability to receive generous EU farm subsidies.

"Very serious efforts are urgently needed for Poland to be able to build up an operational IACS by accession," it said, adding that food safety supervision should be strengthened.

CORRUPTION

The Commission's report urged Poland to do more to root out corruption among police, border guards and the judiciary.

The report noted that Poland had suspended part of its civil service law to allow "recruitment of high level staff without a need for an open competition". Polish media have portrayed the practice as packing political cronies to public posts.

The Commission said Poles had limited access to the judicial system and court proceedings were lengthy. "In Warsaw they stand (on average) at 40 months," the report said.

It said Poland should strengthen controls on its eastern border, which will become the EU's frontier, by hiring new staff and moving guards from the western borders. The customs service needs to be improved and fully computerised.

Poland also has to take additional measures to fight organised crime, human trafficking and money laundering.

On the economic front, the Commission praised Poland's export performance despite economic stagnation and the strong zloty
currency, but said more fiscal discipline was needed to keep the current account deficit under control.

"Efforts at fiscal consolidation have been hampered by slowdown in growth and the reluctance of the authorities to undertake a deep restructuring of public finances," it said.

Slowdown in growth and high interest rates have allowed Poland to cut inflation to levels below the euro zone, but the unemployment rate has soared to above 17 percent.

"With the downturn, high unemployment and inactivity have become the main imbalances in the Polish economy," the report said. It lauded the government for the liberalisation of trade and prices as well as the pension system overhaul.

It said rows between the government and the central bank over its monetary policy and "high-profile disputes" with foreign investors were undermining confidence in Poland.

Poland, where 70 percent of gross national product is generated by the private sector, should pursue the privatisation of its remaining state assets, notably the energy sector, steel mills, coal mines, heavy chemical and defence industries.

KORUPCJA W POLSCE



 
 
 
MEMO/03/88

Brussels, 23 April 2003

EU enlargement: Questions and Answers on food safety issues

Food safety is an integral part of the EU policy on consumer protection and health. Its "farm to table" approach must thus also be adopted by the accession countries. This is a significant challenge where progress has been made but further steps still have to be accomplished.

    How is food safety covered in the new treaty?
Enlargement negotiations were concluded in Copenhagen in December 2002. The ten new Member States(1) signed the Treaty of Accession and the Act of Accession attached to it in Athens on 16 April 2003. The foreseen date of accession is 1 May 2004. With this date the whole EU acquis (the existing body of EU law) will become effective in the new Member States. Negotiations continue for Bulgaria and Romania with 2007 as the target date for accession.

Food safety issues are spread over two areas of the accession negotiations:

  • Chapter 1 " Free Movement of Goods" covers food legislation;
  • Chapter 7 "Agriculture" covers veterinary and phytosanitary issues, and animal nutrition.
Food legislation includes general rules for hygiene and control, food labelling, food additives, food packaging and genetically modified foods.

Veterinary legislation includes animal health, animal welfare, animal identification and registration, internal market control systems, external border controls and public health requirements for establishments in relation to animal products.

Phytosanitary legislation includes plant health (harmful organisms, pesticides), seeds and propagating material, and plant hygiene.

Animal feed legislation includes the safety of feed materials and additives, labelling, contaminants in feed, controls and inspections.

    What is the basic approach of the European Commission to enlargement and food safety?
Food safety is an element of the enlargement process where the EU will not take risks that might lead to lower food safety standards or to any risks for consumers. The new Member States recognise that compliance with the Union's acquis on food safety is essential.

The acquis related to food safety covers a large number of legislative acts, many of which are broad in scope and demanding in terms of transposition, implementation and enforcement.

It is vitally important to ensure that the acquis is fully transposed into the national legislation of each new Member State and that administrative structures and procedures are strengthened and reformed in good time prior to accession.

The Commission has however considered a limited number of properly justified requests for transitional arrangements. In the veterinary and phytosanitary sector, transitional periods were negotiated on the basis that there should be no increased risk to public, animal or plant health in the EU.

    What are the main issues on food safety with the new Member States?
The key issues are:
  • the capacity of the new Member States to implement EU compliant controls for trade inside the EU and for imports from third countries;
  • compliance with the high level of EU health protection rules regarding BSE;
  • bringing food processing establishments up to EU standards.
    How will the future external borders work?
EU controls on third country imports require a system of border inspection posts (BIPs) to be completed to EU standards at external borders with third countries. On this question the EU has made clear that no compromise concerning facilities or procedures would be possible. Only for the specific case of the temporary border between Hungary and Romania was a transitional period agreed. Currently there are some 283 EU Border Inspection Posts (BIPs) operated by national authorities. Most of these are ports and airports, others are road or rail links located in particular at the eastern borders of the Union.

The accession of the 12 new Member States will extend the eastern frontier with Russia and move the frontier eastwards to border with Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and Turkey. New BIPs will equally have to be established along the borders with Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro and with Macedonia.

At present some 51 BIPs in total are proposed by the 10 new Member States to be ready by the time of accession. At accession the existing BIPs on the eastern land borders of Germany, Austria and Italy will become internal borders within the EU. They should close and be replaced by those on the eastern borders of the new Member States. Additional port BIPs are proposed on the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Sea coasts.

In practice veterinary checks on imports include documentary, identity and physical checks of the animals or animal products presented. Following these checks at the first border crossing point into the EU, animals and products can in principle circulate freely in the internal market. It is therefore essential that BIP facilities and procedures are adequate to maintain animal and public health safety.

Setting up Border Inspection Posts for veterinary and other controls in the new Member States requires buildings, equipment and staff to be in place to carry out the required border checks. EU legislation sets out minimum standards for BIP facilities, depending on the type of products to be checked.

However, time is short and a lot of work remains to be done. On the technical level, work is progressing well, but all sectors of government in the new Member States need to work together. The Commission is monitoring developments carefully and only those BIPs fully ready at accession will be approved and listed.

The Commission will need to take a legal decision through the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health composed of Representatives of the Member States to approve veterinary BIPs. A first draft list of BIPs to be approved will be drawn up in September 2003.

    Why is there still a need to upgrade food processing establishments?
Some food processing establishments in the new Member States already fulfil the sanitary requirements of the EU. Six of the new Member States(2) have requested transitional periods to upgrade further food processing plants. These transitional arrangements agreed are limited in time and scope, lasting until 2006 or 2007 (see Annex). The European Commission required new Member States to present detailed information on the situation of the food processing establishments and a binding plan for upgrading each of those which request a transitional period.

Additionally, severe conditions have been imposed as regards the marketing and the special marking of the products coming from establishments in transition: Products must stay on the domestic market of the new Member States and cannot be sold within the EU. Therefore these products will have to be clearly marked so as to distinguish them from those that can be traded within the internal market. The Commission will closely monitor the situation in the establishments and the new Member States will have to report annually on developments.

For establishments that have no transitional periods and do not fulfil EU legislation, the Treaty is clear. If they do not comply with EU standards by the time of accession, they will be closed down. The list of establishments in transition can be amended by Commission decision, but only to a limited extent.

    Examples of standards to be met by slaughterhouses, food processing plants and laboratories?
EU food safety and veterinary/phytosanitary legislation sets high standards. Therefore most new Member States need to make major efforts in organising effective lines of responsibility for food safety, in upgrading plants, getting analytical and laboratory capacity up and running and training personnel for inspection services, laboratory staff etc.

At the moment, the new Member States have many agri-food establishments that may not fulfil all the detailed requirements of EU legislation governing the infrastructure and organisation of the production chain. In food factories, implementation of EU rules may mean bigger investments in rebuilding/refurbishing part of the factory.

There has been a rationalisation process going on. Those establishments which do not meet the EU rules and which are not subject to transitional arrangements will be closed.

To implement effective pesticide residue monitoring for example, the new Member States need to set up a sampling programme (covering both domestic production and imported food), an analytical programme, have the necessary laboratory infrastructure and equipment and have properly qualified staff. They also must put in place effective procedures for identifying lots, reporting results of analysis and for taking appropriate action should problems arise.

Laboratories need to be accredited according to norms on good laboratory practice, such as ISO. Similar requirements apply to the monitoring of residues such as hormones, antibiotics and contaminants, and also testing for the presence of diseases, such as BSE.

    Do the future Member States have a specific problem with BSE?
All new Member States recognise that the risk of BSE is real and are progressively implementing measures to manage that risk. They have all agreed to comply fully with all EU legislation at the time of accession. This includes active BSE surveillance, removal of specified risk materials (SRMs) from the food chain at slaughter, the effective implementation of feed bans and of systems for the identification of cattle and bovine products. All the countries are implementing a basic ban on feeding meat and bonemeal (MBM) to ruminants, but only five countries(3) have implemented the total feed ban. The others are still feeding MBM to pigs and poultry - a practice that is prohibited in the EU.

Eight countries have already launched large-scale BSE testing and the remainder(4) are planning to start in the course of 2003. The EU is co-financing the testing programme through Phare programmes.

The Commission will continue to closely monitor progress in implementing the BSE measures. There can be no compromise on this.

    What financial help is provided to the new Member States to upgrade their food safety systems?
The main instruments are Phare and SAPARD.

Investment for upgrading Border Inspection Posts are in many cases assisted through funding from the Phare programme. Financing for upgrading (adapting, rebuilding or creating) plants processing and marketing meat, dairy, fish and other agricultural products is provided through SAPARD programmes. Almost a billion Euros have been earmarked for this. BSE testing in the new Member States is also co-financed under the Phare programme and most of the new Member States are making use of this.

    How is the Commission monitoring the food safety situation in the new Member States?
Monitoring the process of transposition and implementation is the major task for the Commission between now and accession. The Commission will insist on the full transposition of the acquis by the time of accession.

The Commission's Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) plays an important role in monitoring the level of observance of food hygiene and of veterinary and plant health legislation in the new Member States. Inspection visits to candidate countries was its top priority for 2002. General assessment missions to all candidate countries were undertaken between April 2001 and March 2002. These missions covered all aspects of the food safety acquis including animal health, animal welfare and plant health. They aimed at gaining an overall impression of the preparedness of applicant countries for accession.

Subsequently, more detailed assessments have started. Their objective is to monitor the progress the new Member States are making in implementing EU law. For 2003 they will mainly concentrate on the 10 countries that are joining the EU in 2004 with 4-5 inspections each covering the following five broad areas:

  • Live animals and food of animal origin, including establishments
  • Import controls including BIPs
  • Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) and feedingstuffs
  • General food hygiene controls
  • Plant health
This inspection programme will take up 40% of the FVO's resources in 2003.

The Commission will share the results of these visits with the Member States.

    What will happen if the agreed food safety standards are not met before accession?
All future Member States are working hard towards meeting the required standards and the EU has confidence that they will. The Commission will keep up the pressure to make improvements but time is now short. In any event, the EU will not compromise its standards and therefore the Accession Treaty caters for the possibility of a complementary safeguard clause. The existing safeguard clause (as laid down in articles 53 and 54 of Regulation 178/2002 on the General Food Law) can be invoked if a food or feed constitute a risk to public health. Article 38 of the Accession Treaty provides for a complementary safeguard clause where negotiation commitments are not met and where this is causing an imminent risk for the functioning of the Internal Market. It can be invoked during a period of up to three years after accession, but the measures may be applied beyond that period as long as the relevant commitments have not been fulfilled. The Commission may act either upon the request of a Member State or on its own initiative. The safeguard clause can also be invoked even before accession on the basis of monitoring findings. It would then enter into force as of the first day of accession.
    More information:
The Accession Treaty can be downloaded from the following website:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/negotiations/treaty_of_accession_2003/index.htm

Annex

Agreed transitional periods per country, listing number of establishments per sector

  • Poland: 332 meat establishments (until December 2007), 113 milk establishments (until December 2006), 40 fish establishments (3 years);
  • Czech Republic: 44 meat establishments, 1 egg establishment, 7 fish establishments (until December 2006);
  • Hungary: 44 red meat establishments (until December 2006);
  • Latvia: 29 fish processing establishments (until January 2005), 77 meat establishments (until January 2006), 11 milk processing establishments (until January 2005);
  • Lithuania: 14 meat establishments, 5 fish establishments and 1 milk establishment (until January 2007);
  • Slovakia: 1 meat and 1 fish establishment (December 2006).

  •  

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    Appendix B 
    referred to in Chapter 6, Section B, Subsection I, point 1 of Annex XII 
    List of establishments allowed to process EU compliant and non-compliant milk 
    and expiring dates of transitional periods 
    No Vet. number Name of the establishment End of transitional period 
    1 B1 14281601 ZM "Bakoma" S.A. 30.06.2006 

    List of red meat establishments in transition, including shortcomings and deadlines 
    for the correction of these shortcomings 
    No. Vet. No Name of establishment 
    Shortcomings Date of full compliance 
    Voivodship, Dolnośląskie 
    3. 02190319 PEKPOL – Wytwórnia Wędlin i Konserw Sp. z o.o 
    Directive 64/433: 
    Annex I, Chapter I, point 1(a), (b), (c), 
    (d), (e), (f) and (g) 
    Annex I, Chapter I, point 4(b) and (c) 
    Annex I, Chapter I, point 5 
    Annex I, Chapter IV, point 16(a) 
    Directive 77/99: 
    Annex A, Chapter I, point 2(a), (b), 
    (c), (d), (e) and (f) 
    31.12.2007 
     
     
     

    (1) Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia

    (2) Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia

    (3) Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Slovenia
     

    (4) All countries are testing for BSE, but Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are not yet carrying out the wide-scale BSE testing that is required in EU legislation.
     


Acceding states warned over slow take-up of rules

01.05.2003 - 09:53 CET
View original image
JUST SIGN HERE: But read the fine print also. The prospective EU entrants are being warned early, before it's too late, to respect their commitments (Photo: European Commission)

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The 10 EU acceding states could face punitive measures imposed by the European Commission, if they fail to implement the necessary legislation before November this year.

A monitoring exercise by the Commission last February revealed shortcomings in legislative areas by many of the prospective EU entrants, which will be followed up through early warning letters.

A list obtained by EUobserver shows that whilst the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malta, Cyprus and Hungary have problems in one area, Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Slovakia are in a more risky position.

Poland still needs to make progress in nine areas, which includes free movement of goods, fisheries, competition policy, financial control and industrial policy.

Latvia, on the other hand, has five problem areas, as in free movement of capital, taxation, transport policy, customs union and financial control.

Slovenia is the only acceding country from the 10 that appears to be implementing the acquis without serious delays.

Final report in November

The Commission will present an update of the present monitoring reports for the ten acceding countries in mid-May, which will also be covering agriculture and financial and budgetary provision chapters.

At the latest in July 2003, the Commission will assess the implementation of commitments necessary for the programming of structural funds, before presenting the comprehensive monitoring report on 5 November.

On the basis of the November report, the Commission will possibly draw up measures that could be taken, known as safeguard clauses, in areas where severe gaps have been identified.

"The idea behind this is to protect the EU internal market", Commission sources said. "In some cases, acceding states could see their acquis suspended."

The acceding countries are also being warned verbally.

On Tuesday, enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen urged the Parliament chiefs of the acceding states to implement quickly the proper legislation for the acquis, possibly already by September.

"Please do so, just that your countries should have a clear record", Mr Verheugen said.

He pointed out two major difficulties that the future members still have to cope with - food safety and lack of decentralisation in the management of EU funds.

On Monday Poland, one of the biggest prospective EU entrants, also received a stern warning from the director general of enlargement, Eneko Landaburu who warned the Polish government that if it does not speed up its preparations for EU membership, the Commission might introduce the so-called safeguard measures from November this year.

Written by Sharon Spiteri
Edited by Honor Mahony
http://www.euobserver.com/index.phtml?aid=11070


Polska-UE: nieoczekiwane ostrzeżenie 

Przedstawiciel Komisji Europejskiej grozi Polsce sankcjami za opóźnienia w przygotowaniach do członkostwa. Eneko Landaburu sugeruje, że Unia może od listopada wprowadzić tzw. klauzule ochronne.

Z tą niespodziewaną groźbą Eneko Landaburu wystąpił na posiedzeniu komisji wspólnej polskiego parlamentu i Parlamentu Europejskiego. 

Zabierając głos w imieniu Komisji Europejskiej jej drugi najważniejszy urzędnik do spraw poszerzenia zachęcił polski rząd do realizowania zobowiązań dotyczących przygotowań do przystąpienia do wspólnoty. Jednocześnie też zagroził, że jeśli
opóźnienia będą trwały, to unia wprowadzi tzw. klauzule ochronne. To zaś może utrudnić Polsce udział we wspólnym rynku i może pozbawić części korzyści z integracji. 

Odpowiadając na te ostrzeżenia szef sejmowej komisji europejskiej Józef Oleksy powiedział, że nie wyobraża sobie, by Polska dała Unii powody do wprowadzenia sankcji. 

(BBC, waw)
http://bbc.internetia.pl/news.html?kat=KRA&info=62971

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter 22 - Environment
October 2002 
Background

The acquis

The environmental acquis covers a wide range of measures, mostly in the form of directives. In broad terms EU environmental legislation covers environmental quality protection, polluting and other activities, production processes, procedures and procedural rights as well as products. Apart from horizontal issues (environmental impact assessments, access to information on environment, combating climate change), quality standards are set for Air, Waste management, Water, Nature protection, Industrial pollution control, Chemicals and genetically modified organisms, Noise and Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (safety issues arising from the use of nuclear energy are part of the energy chapter).

Despite significant improvements, such as cleaner air and safer drinking water the environmental acquis is developing significantly. The new Environment Action Programme identifies four priority areas: Climate Change, Nature and Biodiversity, Environment and Health and Natural Resources and Waste.

Tasks for candidate countries

Transposition of the environmental acquis into the national legal order and its implementation are major tasks. The list of priority tasks features:

  • Community framework legislation (including access to information and environmental impact assessment);
  • measures relating to international conventions to which the Community is party;
  • reduction of global and trans-boundary pollution;
  • nature protection legislation (aimed at safeguarding bio-diversity),
  • measures ensuring the functioning of the internal market (e.g. product standards).
A strong and well-equipped administration is required for the application and enforcement of the environmental acquis.

Moreover, in line with Article 6 of the EC Treaty, integration of environmental protection requirements in other policy areas should be envisaged in order to contribute to sustainable development.

Costs and benefits

Ensuring compliance with the environment acquis requires an estimated investment of around €80 to €120 billion for the ten Central and Eastern European Countries alone. However, a study financed by the European Commission shows that implementing the EU environmental directives - and the higher environmental protection they entail - in the candidate countries, will bring significant benefits for public health and reduce costly damage to forests, buildings, fields and fisheries. The estimated total value of the benefits of EU directives for the candidate countries will range from € 134 to 681 billion.

EU approach to transitional measures

Based on the general principle that transitional measures should be limited in time and scope, the EU has underlined from the very beginning of the negotiations that transitional measures will not be granted on

  • transposition (as opposed to implementation);
  • framework legislation (air, waste, water, impact assessment, access to information);
  • nature protection (habitat, birds);
  • essentials of the internal market (all product-related legislation);
  • new installations;
while they can be considered where
    substantial adaptation of infrastructure is required which needs to be spread over time.
Requests for transitional measures need to be justified by detailed implementation plans ensuring that compliance with the acquis will be reached over time. These plans also allow candidate countries to define intermediate targets which will be legally binding. Hence, transitional measures aim to allow the future Member States to deal with the legacy of the past but not to attract new investments with lower environmental standards.

State of play

The chapter has been provisionally closed with Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia. Negotiations are ongoing with Bulgaria, Malta and Romania. The Commission has, at the end of January 2002, proposed to the Council a common position for the opening of the chapter with Romania.

All candidate countries have requested transitional measures and technical adaptations. As a result of negotiation, clarification and substantial additional efforts by the candidate countries, several of these requests have been withdrawn. As a result, limited transitional periods have been granted in relation to volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from storage and distribution of petrol, sulphur content of certain liquid fuels, urban waste water treatment, drinking water, discharges of dangerous substances into the aquatic environment, packaging and packaging waste, landfill of waste, asbestos waste, shipments of waste, integrated pollution prevention and control, large combustion plants, incineration of hazardous waste and ionising radiation in relation to medical exposure.

In cases where the chapter has been provisionally closed, the schedules for transposition and implementation of the environment acquis have been fully clarified, including plans on further strengthening of the administrative capacity.

Compliance with the acquis

The latest assessment of each candidate country’s compliance with the acquis under this chapter heading, can be found in the 2002 Regular Report, available at:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/report2002/index.htm .

Country by country

Bulgaria
  • Chapter opened: July 2001
  • Status: open
Cyprus
  • Chapter opened: December 1999
  • Status: provisionally closed in July 2001
  • Transitional arrangements
    • recovery targets of packaging waste until 2005
    • air pollution from large combustion plants, special provisions
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2012
    • a one year derogation on sulphur content of certain liquid fuels, provided by the directive
Czech Republic
  • Chapter opened: December 1999
  • Status: provisionally closed in June 2001
  • Transitional arrangements
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste until 2005
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2010
Estonia
  • Chapter opened: December 1999
  • Status: provisionally closed in June 2001
  • Transitional arrangements
    • emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage of petrol until 2006
    • landfill of oil shale until 2009
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2010
    • quality of drinking water until 2013
Hungary
  • Chapter opened: December 1999
  • Status: provisionally closed in June 2001
  • Transitional arrangements
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste until 2005
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2015
    • air pollution from large combustion plants until 2004
    • incineration of hazardous waste until 2005
Latvia
  • Chapter opened: March 2001
  • Status: provisionally closed in November 2001
  • Transitional arrangements: 
    • emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage of petrol until 2008
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste until 2007
    • landfill of waste until 2004
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2015
    • quality of drinking water until 2015
    • integrated pollution and prevention control until 2010 (instead of 2007 for Member States)
    • storage of asbestos waste until 2004
    • health protection of individuals against ionising radiation in relation to medical exposure until 2005
Lithuania
  • Chapter opened: November 2000
  • Status: provisionally closed in June 2001
  • Transitional arrangements
    • emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage of petrol until 2007
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste until 2006
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2009
Malta
  • Chapter opened: June 2001
  • Status: provisionally closed in October 2002
  • Transitional arrangements
    • emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage of petrol until 2004
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste until 2009, beverage packaging until 2007
    • treatment of urban waste water until March 2007
    • quality of drinking water until 2005
    • discharges of dangerous substances into surface water until March 2007
    • protection of wild birds, use of clap-nets for capture of seven finch species in order to establish a captive breeding system until 2008
    • air pollution from large combustion plants until 2005
Poland
  • Chapter opened: December 1999
  • Status: provisionally closed in October 2001
  • Transitional arrangements
    • sulphur content of liquid fuels until 2006
    • emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage of petrol until 2005
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste until 2007
    • waste landfills until 2012 (instead of 2009 for Member States)
    • shipment of waste until 2007
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2015
    • discharges of dangerous substances into surface water until 2007
    • integrated pollution prevention and control until 2010 (instead of 2007 for Member States)
    • health protection of individuals against ionising radiation in relation to medical exposure until 2006
Romania
  • Chapter opened: March 2002
  • Status: open
Slovakia
  • Chapter opened: March 2001
  • Status: provisionally closed in December 2001
  • Transitional arrangements: 
    • emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage of petrol until 2007
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste until 2007
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2015
    • discharges of dangerous substances into surface water until 2006
    • integrated pollution prevention control until 2011
    • air pollution from large combustion plants until 2007
    • incineration of hazardous waste until 2006
Slovenia
  • Chapter opened: December 1999
  • Status: provisionally closed in March 2001
  • Transitional arrangements: 
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste until 2007
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2015

    • integrated pollution prevention and control until 2011 (instead of 2007 for Member States)

 
 
The Green Eight

The eight largest European environmental organizations 
count more than 20 million members and supporters in Europe

  • the European Environmental Bureau
  • Friends of the Earth Europe
  • Greenpeace
  • WWF
  • Friends of Nature International
  • the European Federation for Transport and Environment
  • BirdLife International
  • Climate Network Europe



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
David BYRNE 

European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection 

"Enlargement, Food Imports and Rural Development" 

EEP Seminar 

Brussels, 10 December 2003

I welcome the opportunity to speak to you here today and to appear together with my colleague Franz Fischler as indeed we did at our last meeting just over a year ago. 

Today I will start with a few words about our achievements in relation to food safety. I will then address issues related to food imports, EU enlargement and finish with some broad thoughts on rural development.

Food safety 

But first let me provide you with a very brief update on the overhaul of the European food safety system. 

Food safety was the key public concern at the start of my mandate. The Commission's White Paper, published in early 2000, responded to that concern setting out a well-defined action plan to put matters right. 

Four years later I am pleased to say that we have made enormous progress in building a new food safety system fit for the 21st century. 

The general food law is now established. EFSA is now up and running and is making steady progress towards taking up the full range of its functions. 

New carefully targeted legislation is now in force, or coming into force soon, covering a whole range of food safety issues. 

Measures on TSEs; GM food and feed; animal by-products; zoonoses; labelling of feed, undesirable substances in feed; food supplements; and the withdrawal of antibiotics have all been introduced. 

And a number of important proposals are currently passing through the legislative process. I would mention in particular the food hygiene package; pesticides residue limits; the feed hygiene proposal; and our important proposal on official controls. 

Whilst our work is not yet complete I am pleased to say that the major elements are now either in place or in the pipeline. 

I am grateful for the Parliament's support in getting to where we are now and trust that this support will continue for the remainder of this legislature. 

Food imports 

Let me turn now to food imports. International trade in agricultural and food products is an important and often sensitive issue. 

The EU has a key responsibility in this respect as we are the world's largest trader of agri-food products. Our approach is to insist on very high standards but within the framework of our international obligations. 

As a general principle, the Commission aims to ensure that imported products are treated no more favourably, or less favourably, than products produced in the EU. All the relevant EU legislation is systematically notified to our trading partners in the WTO. 

We take careful account of their concerns, especially the concerns of developing countries. Where necessary and provided it does not create an unacceptable risk, we amend our legislation to address these concerns. 

And the current proposal on official food and feed controls includes provisions for providing assistance to help developing countries meet our exacting standards. 

Rigorous controls 

I make no apology however for our rigorous controls on imports. These are necessary to ensure that there is minimal risk to human, animal or plant health. 

The Member States of the EU have invested hugely over the past number of years in putting in place a system which ensures safety from farm to fork. We cannot allow this progress to be undermined in any way. 

We therefore have a rigorous system of controls in place aimed at ensuring that imported products are safe. These include assessments of the legislation and control systems in third countries, and the situation in relation to major animal diseases. The Food and Veterinary Office carries out on-the-spot controls to verify compliance. 

We do not hesitate to take corrective action when problems are found. This has been necessary in relation to the presence of banned substances antibiotics, in particular. 

Additional testing or outright bans have had to be imposed on occasions. This is always unfortunate but we will not shirk our responsibilities to ensure that food is safe, even where this may lead to trade and diplomatic tensions. 

But as we also know from experience, potential problems are not just limited to imports. The key point is that rapid and effective action is taken to address problems as and when they arise, regardless of their origin. 

Enlargement 

Accession day for the new Member States draws ever closer. The adoption of the Monitoring Reports last month marks an important step towards an EU of 25 Member States. 

My principal concern is to ensure the full transposition and implementation of the food safety acquis by the time of accession. We continue to monitor progress and provide assistance in this regard. 

I have consistently made it clear that the overall level of food safety cannot be compromised in the accession process to avoid any health risk for consumers and to guarantee the functioning of the internal market. 

To this end I and my services have spelled out precisely where the accession states need to make further and rapid progress. 

The Accession Treaty gives the Commission the power to invoke safeguard measures if necessary. I have stressed that it is in everyone's interest to avoid the use of such measures. 

Over the coming months I will continue to work with the new Member States to encourage completion of their programme of work.

Rural Development

I would now like to turn to an entirely different issue that of Rural Development and the challenges facing rural communities. Clearly, prime responsibility for this in the agricultural context is with Franz, but I have a keen interest in this area.

First, an observation. There was perhaps a tendency in the past to think of the rural economy as being synonymous with agriculture. This is not so. 

The rural economy is much broader. We only have to look as far as the UK, when in counting the cost of the 2001 Foot and Mouth epidemic, it transpired that the losses suffered by the agriculture industry were by far outstripped by the losses suffered by the wider rural economy, tourism in particular. 

Whilst restructuring of the farming sector is an important element of rural development, it is far from being the entire picture. We have to look at rural development in the broader context. 

One of the principal drivers of European rural development policy is the desire to achieve sustainable development. This means establishing self-sustaining and confident rural communities that can stand up for themselves, rather than being dependent on State, or EU, support on an ongoing basis. 

And this is not just a question of economics. It is also a social imperative to create the conditions for rural communities to prosper, thrive and maintain their identity, on a self-sustaining basis into the future. 

Forward looking rural economies 

Achieving these ambitions requires a radical shift in thinking and perception. Rural areas are not open air museums, harking back to a bygone age. Being rural and being modern must not be seen as a contradiction in terms. 

Food production in rural economies 

In the context of a more dynamic rural policy, we also need to focus more on food production. The CAP reform agreement represents a major challenge for food producers. Whilst it is true that continued support, decoupled from production, will continue to contribute to the viability of agricultural businesses at least for the foreseeable future, that alone will not be sufficient to ensure long-term sustainability and success. 

Primary food production will draw ever closer to the market. And just like any other market the mechanisms of supply and demand must and will apply. 

The increasing liberalisation of trade in agricultural products in the years ahead will mean that quality and added-value will become increasingly important ingredients for future success, both on the domestic and export market. 

Future rural economies not agriculture dependent 

In my view, the success of rural economies into the future will not depend on the success of agriculture in its own right. 

Greater wealth and consumer interest will fuel demand for all sorts of diversification in rural economies. To meet such demand we must ensure that rural communities are equipped to take advantage of the opportunities of the changing consumer-led landscape. 

It seems clear to me that we need to think very carefully about the financing framework for rural development, if a golden opportunity for the next generation of rural development and sustainable development is to be seized. 

Thank you. 

 


 



 
THE STRUGGLES FOR POLAND

BY NEAL ASCHERSON

excerpts of  the 
First American Edition
Random House Inc.,
New York 1988

web page
 



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