Romania took over from the Austrian Presidency of the EU Council all the themes of the veterinary areal, including the sensitive ones, such as the re-organisation of the Food Law, the pressure generated by Brexit or the African swine fever, President of the National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority (ANSVSA) Geronimo Branescu told AGERPRES.
"One of the directions during the six-month Presidency aims to analyse the possibility of extending the Chief Veterinary Officers (CVO) mandate and accountability, including in terms of food safety at the EU level. When the Austrian Presidency ended, also discussed was the possibility of setting up a Food Safety Officer (FSO), meaning an equivalent of the chief of the veterinary services, so that we can meet the CVO margin, where there are the 28 veterinary leaders of the EU. In many European countries, veterinary services don't deal with food safety because they fall under the authority of other entities. In Romania, the ANSVSA manages animal health, as well as food safety, and there are only 6-7 EU countries organized this way," Branescu stated.
He explained that with the emergence of food crises that unfolded in countries of the European Union (crisis of frozen food products in Hungary contaminated with Listeria or fipronil egg contamination), the issue of defining the status of a Food Safety Officer or expanding prerogatives to the current Chief Veterinary Officers was seriously approached.
In his view, the most important legislative file to be analysed and finalised during the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council is the regulation proposal on the establishment of the Single Market Programme.
Moreover, Romania will have to manage the pressure generated by Brexit, that is to be in force on 30 March, but also the re-organisation of the activities regarding the welfare of animals during sea transport.
Last, but not least, Romania will manage during its mandate of the Presidency of the EU Council the African swine fever issue, which "has been, is and will be a topical issue at the EU level."
"Romania will also come up here with a punctual theme regarding the integration of biosecurity solutions in the context of the African swine fever. We will tackle the biosecurity topic in an integrated system, but also on our specificity, because we host more than 75 percent of the pigs raised in households of the EU population. It is a topic that regards other states less, but we are very interested in it, however, we are integrating it with the wild boar and with the professional pig breeding farms," Geronimo Branescu said.
The ANSVSA president proposed to the Council of the EU the schedule of the meetings during the six-month mandate in this area, which includes formal and informal meetings that veterinary services chiefs and expert groups will organize in the first half of 2019.