The Council and the Commission gave the green light for the new regulation, which will affect organic agriculture. Once adopted, the new rules will go into effect on January 1, 2021.
Many of the current organic rules are old and do not reflect the major changes that have taken place in the EU organic sector over the last two decades.
Organic agriculture is one of the most dynamic sectors of EU agriculture, with more and more land being used for organic farming. The organic market in the EU is worth around €27 billion, some 125% more than 10 years ago.
Changes to the new regulation include:
- Simplification for farmers who now can choose group certification. This reduces their certification costs and makes it easier for them to join the organic scheme.
- The scope of the rules has been extended to cover a range of new products such as salt, cork and essential oils.
- Changes concerning the import of organic products from third parties.
This single set of rules will also apply to non-EU farmers who export their organic products to the EU market. It will replace today's 60+ different standards (considered equivalent) that apply to imported organic foods.
Rather than producing to standards considered equivalent to the EU rules, third-party producers must now comply with the same set of rules as those in the EU.