In a recent meeting, the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council identified which parts of Europe have been affected by ASF. They are: Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania (wild boar and farmed pigs), Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Belgium (wild boar only), and Italy (Sardinia only – unrelated epidemic situation).
The council said that while the situation in the EU “remains stable”, since the last discussion on ASF in January 2019, the disease has continued to spread to vast regions of China and other Asian countries (Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), raising serious concerns in other countries such as the United States and Canada.
It reassured member states that it would remain active in fighting ASF and invited them to remain vigilant and well-prepared, in particular due to the peak of the disease during the summer season.
The council underlined the “crucial importance of multi-sectorial cooperation to control the disease”.
Delegates stressed the importance of a common approach and cross-sectorial collaboration in tackling the disease and underlined the key role of biosecurity and information sharing, as well as sufficient co-financing and respect of international trade standards by the trading partners.
Trade body co-operation
Reacting to the EU debate, the European Livestock and Meat Trades Union (UECBV) said “the idea that the continued cooperation between Commission services, Member States and stakeholders will be fundamental to overcome those barriers”.
It praised the work done already to stop the spread of the disease but urged further co-operation. “The success of the EU control system, including EU regionalisation, can be seen on the eradication of ASF in the Czech Republic, or on the containment of the disease in the wild boar population in Belgium and Hungary, or even in Estonia since 2018. Furthermore, no cases of ASF were linked to trade in pork, be it intra-EU or for exports.
“However, in spite of the achievements of the EU control system, most trade partners continue to apply trade barriers to safe EU pork, despite proactive and transparent communication and cooperation strategies from the EU, its Member States and industry.
“In UECBV view, the strong cooperation between DG AGRI, DG SANTE, DG TRADE, EEAS and the EU Member States must continue in order to remove these barriers. It is also crucial to continue the partnership between Commission services and industry, like in the recent and successful EU Seminar on Standards for Agri-food Products held in Mexico.”