Brussels, 05 March 2008
The European Commission today received the backing of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health to adopt a draft Decision approving the emergency vaccination plans of certain Member States against Bluetongue and the first instalment of the Community financial contribution for these plans of up to €64 million. The extent of the EU's financial contribution to these programmes reflects the importance the Commission attaches to plans for containing this disease.
Vaccination is the most efficient veterinary measure that can be used to fight bluetongue and to achieve the objectives of reducing the loss of animals, containing the spread of the disease, protecting bluetongue-free territories in Member States and facilitating the safe trade in live animals. The Commission's financial contribution will support emergency vaccination plans against bluetongue in the Member States at a rate of 100% of the vaccine's supply cost and 50% of the costs incurred while carrying out the vaccination, up to certain ceilings (€0.6 per vaccine dose purchased, €2 per vaccinated cattle and €0.75 per vaccinated sheep or goat).
In order to achieve a harmonised EU approach while leaving Member States the necessary flexibility to adapt according to their national situation, the concerned Member States have presented their emergency mass vaccination plans to the Commission. The Commission assessed these plans from both the veterinary and the financial point of view, ruled that they comply with relevant Community veterinary legislation and upon approval, the amount allocated for the first instalment of the Community financial contribution will be set at a maximum of € 63.950.000.
In a related issue, the Standing Committee also backed a draft amendment by the European Commission to Regulation 1266/2007 on bluetongue concerning the harmonisation of requirements for the movement of pregnant females and newborn animals, in order to prevent risks associated with the possible trans-placental transmission of bluetongue.