Today the European Parliament has adopted the new Regulation on Official Controls, proposed by the European Commission, to increase Member States' ability to prevent, eliminate or reduce health risks to humans, animals and plants. The Regulation provides a package of measures that will strengthen the enforcement of health and safety standards for the whole agri-food chain.
The new rules aim at modernising and simplifying the European control system to ensure that food in the European Union is safe along the entire agri-food chain.
The regulation is part of the body of EU legislation covering the food chain package that cuts down almost 70 pieces of EU legislation to 5 reduces the red-tape on processes and procedures for farmers, breeders and food business operators (producers, processors and distributors) to make it easier for them to carry out their profession.
EU citizens will benefit from safer products and a more effective and more transparent system of controls along the chain. The package also provides simpler, science and risk-based rules, allowing more efficient processes for business. Finally, the national controllers are given the powers and tools to deliver their tasks more effectively.
This new piece of legislation reaffirms the EU' leading position world-wide in the area of food safety. It also paves the way to establishment of the long-awaited reference centres for animal welfare.
I want to thank the successive Presidencies of the Council and the Rapporteurs of the European Parliament, Mr Pirillo, under the previous term, and Ms Kadenbach under the current one, for reaching an agreement in the political negotiations, as well as the various Shadow Rapporteurs from the other political groups.
We will now start to prepare the more specific rules which stem from the Regulation to ensure it can apply in practice.
We also very much look forward to a constructive dialogue with the Member States, the Parliament and stakeholders in order to achieve a uniform approach on implementation.