10 EU countries join forces against crop disease
Ten countries of the European Union and the Commission agreed on Friday on a road map to strengthen the fight against Xylella fastidiosa, a disease that affects multiple crops in the Mediterranean area, some of them in the Region of Valencia, and which threatens to spread across the rest of the continent.
At a ministerial meeting in Paris, the representatives, including those of the countries affected (Italy, Spain, France and Germany), agreed to strengthen cooperation and the exchange of information on this pest.
After the meeting, the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Isabel García Tejerina, assured that the Government will help the autonomous regions affected, which in the case of Spain are the Balearic Islands (olive sector) and the Region of Valencia (almond sector in Alicante).
The Commissioner of Agriculture, Vytenis Andriukatinis, highlighted the "significant threat at an economic, social and environmental level" represented by this bacterium, which is transmitted by insects, and considered it a priority to fight its spread.
He acknowledged that the most affected area is the southern Italian region of Apulia, where he said that some producers are reluctant to uproot hundred-year-old olive trees affected by the disease. However, Andriukatinis was firm when it came to imposing measures to combat a pest against which there is no cure, and eliminating the plants affected is currently the only solution.
The EU Executive will allocate 10 million Euro in aid to "provide new solutions in the medium term," as indicated in the final agreement, also signed by Croatia, Cyprus, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Greece.
Publication date: 12/5/2017
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