On 24 March 2014, the EU Commission presented a legislative proposal for a new organic regulation and a new EU Organic Action Plan. Whilst the EU Organic Action plan came immediately into force, the legislative proposal for a new regulation was discussed in a co-decision process between the EU Parliament and the Council. Since November 2015 the file is under the so-called trilogue negotiations between the three EU institutions and a trilogue agreement has been reached on 28 June 2017. A final approval by the co-legislatiors - the Council and the EU Parliament - is expected in the coming weeks. According to the last compromise text the new regulation would apply from July 2020.
IFOAM EU has been involved since the process was launched by the Commission in 2012 and will continue to work hard to make sure the final results help the European organic sector develop – both in terms of quality and quantity.
IFOAM EU Press Release: Towards a new policy framework for organic farming – good aims but many open questions
Regarding the process
The European Commission's review of the existing organic regulation consisted of three major official steps:
- Report to the Council on the application of Council Regulation (EC) 834/2007
The Commission report to the Council was adopted in May 2012 and was presented at the June 2012 Council meeting under the Danish Presidency. Under the Irish Presidency, the Council presented its conclusions.
- Evaluation of the regulation
The European Commission subcontracted an external body to execute an official evaluation of the organic regulation. A consortium led by the German Thünen-Institut was commissioned in September 2012 to do the study, which aims to examine the relevance and effectiveness of the current organic regulations with respect to achieving the objectives laid down in the legislation. The report was published in January 2014.
- Impact assessment
At the same time the evaluation was being conducted, the EU Commission produced an impact assessment to evaluate the consequences of potential ways forward as conceived by the Commission. An inter-service group including multiple Directorates-General was established and gave input to the process. The Impact assessment included stakeholder consultations of different kinds including hearings with stakeholders and an online consultation opened to all European citizens (Report on the public consultation). An Impact Assessment Report with annexes (I and II) is available on the Commission website.
After the three steps, the Commission published proposals for a new regulation and a new action plan.
The legislative proposal for a new regulation underwent a co-decision process between the European Parliament and the Council.
- Council: three Presidencies - Greece, Italy and Latvia - worked intensively to reach an agreed position on the initial Commission proposal. After 14 months an agreement was finally reached at the AGRI Council of Ministers of 16 of June 2015.
The Council general approach is available on the Council website.
- Parliament: the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development (COMAGRI) is responsible for the dossier, while the Committee for Environment, Public Health, Consumer Policy (COMENVI) gave an opinion.
German Green MEP Martin Häusling was appointed as Rapporteur.
He presented his draft report in May 2015, proposing 353 amendments to the initial Commission proposal.
In May also COMENVI presented its opinion (158 amendments)
In June 2015, COMAGRI MEPs presented other 969 amendments.
Vote in COMAGRI took place on 13 October 2015. COMAGRI adopted report is available here.
EU Parliamentary Research Service Briefing on the Organic Farming Legislation October 2015
Starting from November 2015, trilogue negotiations between the three institutions - Parliament, Council and Commission - were kicked off under the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council. The Dutch and Slovak Presidencies continued the discussions in 2016 and the Maltese Presidency reached a trilogue agreement in the first semester of 2017. Estonian Presidency took the baton in July 2017 and in November both the Special Committee on Agriculture and the Parliament's Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development adopted it. Still approval by the Parliament Plenary and the Council of Agri Ministers is needed. This is expected in Spring 2018.