The consolidation of European food safety and quality standards, as well as animal and plant health, topped the agenda at the conference in Krakow, which focussed on the convergence of regulations in Eastern Partnership states with EU laws.
The conference, which was hosted by the Polish minister for agriculture and rural development Marek Sawicki, was attended by members of the Eastern Partnership (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) and representatives from the EU.
Representatives from international organisations, associations and research and development (R&D) institutes were also present.
According to Sawicki, the aim of the conference was the “harmonisation of law, reforms of control and guaranteeing the effectiveness of food safety systems” in EaP nations.
Compatible, integrated system
“The meeting was of consultation and information character – we were attempting to define what criterions regarding plants, animals, food safety and quality are applied in the EaP countries,” added the minister.
The purpose of the two day conference, which ended on Friday, was to discuss the current results of cooperation in the field of agriculture and food safety and quality between EaP countries and the EU.
The EaP initiative was established in 2008 with the aim of creating a compatible, integrated system for food safety management and the development of trade cooperation between Partnership states and the EU.
“As we have opened up to and begun working together with Eastern Partnership countries, we decided to present them with our standards and ways of achieving them,” said Sawicki.
Open and cooperative
“Since we become more and more open and cooperative with the Eastern Partnership countries, we shall present them with our standards and show the way to reach them,” added Sawicki.
Deputy Minister for agriculture and rural development, Andrzei Butra added that the development of an integrated food safety management system is essential as “food products from the Eastern Partnership countries frequently maintain Union standards, but internal rules of particular states do not follow EU directives.”