European Union publishes list of priority pests

The European Commission has published a list of 20 regulated quarantine pests qualifying as priority pests, including Xylella fastidiosa, Japanese beetle, Asian long-horned beetle, Citrus greening and Citrus Black Spot. The pests and diseases have been selected because they have the most severe economic, environmental and social impact on EU’s territory.

Member States will be required to develop public information campaigns about the diseases, as well as preparing contingency plans and conducting annual surveys on any outbreaks.

Welcoming the adoption of this list, Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, in charge of Health and Food Safety, said, “Plant health has been high on the agenda of my mandate over the past five years. This is why I am particularly glad to count in my legacy this prioritization that will help the EU and Member States to increase preparedness and early actions against very dangerous plant pests and contribute to the European green deal, protecting our biodiversity, the natural ecosystems and the EU agriculture.”

The selection of pests is based on the assessment carried out by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre and the European Food Safety Authority, which takes into account the probability of spreading, establishment and consequences of those pests for the Union. Views of a dedicated Experts Group and public feedback provided via the Better Regulation portal were also taken into account.

According to this new methodology, Xylella fastidiosa could cause annual production losses of €5.5 billion, affecting 70 per cent of the EU production value of older olive trees (over 30 years old) and 35% value of younger ones, in a scenario of the bacterium spreading across the entire EU.


Photo caption: Xylella fastidiosa is the most economically damaging of the 20 pest and diseases on the new EU list

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