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23 September 2019
Agriculture and fisheries News

High-level conference on transboundary animal diseases

On June 10, 2019, the Palace of the Parliament hosted the High-level conference on transboundary animal diseases, an event organised on the margins of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU. Next to Minister Petre Daea, the event also enjoyed the participation of Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, of the President of the National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority Geronimo Brănescu, as well as of top EU officials (Pekka Pesonen, Secretary General of Copa Cogeca, DG Sante Director Bernard Van Goethem and FAO Senior Animal Health and Production Officer Eran Raizman,). Reputed members of the academia, researchers and experts from the EU Member States also delivered presentations on the topics debated in the conference.

The agenda included topics of high importance such as: the farmers’ perspective on risk management in transboundary diseases in order to ensure work continuity, FAO assistance to the countries affected by transboundary diseases, including the African swine fever (ASF) and the peste des petits ruminants, the EU’s take on transboundary animal diseases, the role of EFSA in supporting the Member States to cope with those epidemics, the importance of cooperation in transboundary animal diseases, the Member States’ experience in managing transboundary avian flu, African swine fever and the peste des petits ruminants as well as the serious economic consequences of transboundary diseases in Europe.

In the opening speech of the conference, Minister Petre Daea highlighted that the event was aimed both at exchanging views and best practices and at identifying the effective lines of action that would enable us to maintain animal health and to manage food resources in the future.

In his speech, the minister emphasised that animal health and the management of transboundary diseases were crucial for preserving the efficiency of EU agriculture. Petre Daea highlighted the efforts made by the European Commission, through its Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, as well as by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, and stressed out the importance of Europe-wide, regional and national cooperation among veterinary bodies in order to fight against animal diseases.

In that context, Minister Daea thanked Commissioner Andriukaitis for the support given to Romania since the first outbreak of the African swine fever (ASF) two years before.

The Romanian minister also presented an assessment of the developments regarding ASF in Romania and pointed out that the measures included in the Contingency Plan were implemented as soon as the disease first broke out, through the collective effort of all the institutional actors charged with countering it. He also highlighted that stopping the virus from spreading was also made possible thanks to the technical advice that Romania received and to the financial support of the European Commission.

The Romanian official also expressed the view that in order to successfully control animal diseases it is necessary to invest in well-organised veterinary structures compliant to the highest standards and to keep improving them. He also expressed his confidence in the future EU legislative package on animal health, which will come into force in April 2021 and will create new possibilities to calibrate the fight against the diseases transmitted from animals to humans, playing an important role in providing new and modern instruments in the prevention and control of those diseases.

In his speech, Commissioner Andriukaitis emphasised that the EU political decision-makers needed to remain focused on the problem of transboundary animal diseases, that goal being, in his opinion, supported by the conference organised in Bucharest under the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The Commissioner also stated that the Commission encouraged the development of common EU strategies, as cooperation and coordination across the Member States were key elements in ensuring animal health.

Commissioner Andriukaitis and the other officials will also out carry out field visits to major agricultural investment projects as part of the conference agenda.

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