The EU Agriculture Committee has approved new rules to control non-native plant pests this week.
MEPs and member states informally agreed the draft rules last year, which will introduce new preventive measures to deal with suspect plant imports and rapid response mechanisms for high-risk ones.
Pest surveillance efforts in the EU will also be stepped up, and all member states will be required to draw up outbreak contingency plans.
“Plant pests and diseases do not respect borders and we need to protect our biodiversity by laying down basic procedures for all 28 EU member states to adopt. At the same time, we must be careful not to stifle trade in plants and plant products by introducing unnecessary layers of bureaucracy”, said Anthea McIntyre, the MEP who headed up the negotiating team in parliament.
The Agriculture Committee backed the deal by 28 votes to one.
Ms McIntyre added: “These new rules strike the right balance between protecting trade while allowing us to respond to threats in a co-ordinated way across the EU.”