The European Commission has issued an import prohibition on high-risk plants from non-EU countries, including genera and species of numerous shrub varieties such as Acer or Eucalyptus. As plants from third countries, these pose a special risk for the entire EU that dangerous diseases and pests might be introduced.
EU Commission backpedals on prohibition list
The European Commission published last summer a preliminary concept list of plants with high risk, which also included Ficus and Cycas, among others – and has now backpedalled on some points, as the Implementing Regulation, which was published at the end of 2018 and which came into force on 7 January, shows.
This Regulation, according to the EU, serves the purpose of “establishing a provisional list of high risk plants, plant products or other objects, within the meaning of Article 42 of Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 and a list of plants for which phytosanitary certificates are not required for introduction into the Union, within the meaning of Article 73 of that Regulation”.
Imports of Acer, Fagus, Prunus etc. prohibited for the time being
As high-risk plants from third countries, the EU Implementation Regulation lists the following genera and species whose import into the territory of the European Union is prohibited until a risk assessment is carried out:
Acacia, Acer, Albizia, Alder, Annona, Ash
Bauhinia, Barberries, Beech, Birch
Caesalpinia, Cassia, Castanea, Cornus, Corylus, Crab apple, Crataegus
Persea, Poplar, Prunus
The importation of plants of Ullucus tuberosus, of Momordica fruits as well as Elm wood from third countries is also prohibited.
Ficus and Cycas deleted from list of high-risk plants
According to its own statements, the European Commission has been persuaded to exclude seeds and in-vitro material as well as dwarf shrub varieties of these “high-risk plants” from the scope of the regulation, as the pest risk here is justifiable.
In addition, species such as Ficus (except Ficus carica) as well as Cycas have been removed from the list of high-risk plants. The Dutch producers of Ficus, in particular, expressed concern over the negative effects of such an import prohibition in view of the EU Commission’s concept list and were convinced that there were no phytosanitary risks associated with imports of ficus from third countries. The risks have already been reduced to a minimum due to the strict plant protection policy in Europe.