Plant Health

Plant health legislation, also referred to as phytosanitary legislation, is harmonised in the EU. This means that the same rules are applied in Belgium and in all other EU Member States.

In order to better protect the EU against the introduction of harmful pests and diseases to its agricultural, horticultural and forestry crops and to nature in general, Directive 2000/29/EC was replaced on 14/12/2019 by Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 (“Plant Health Law”). This regulation introduces a proactive approach to prevent the introduction of pests into the EU. By focusing on preventive measures, thorough surveillance of the territory and preparation for possible outbreaks, Member States aim to reduce yield losses and the high costs associated with control measures.

The most important aspects of the Plant Health Law concern:

  • Strengthening phytosanitary import controls on plants and plant products from third countries;
  • Harmonising the model of plant passports in the EU and extending the list of plants that must be accompanied by a plant passport to all plants intended for planting.

Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 is complemented by more detailed provisions so that uniform and transparent plant health rules apply in all EU Member States.

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2072 establishes the list of EU quarantine pests, protected zone quarantine pests [ZP (zona protecta) or PZ (protected zone)], regulated non-quarantine pests (RNQP), the list of plants, plant products and other objects whose introduction into the EU from third countries is prohibited and special phytosanitary requirements for import and for intra-Community trade. Since 2019, all plants (including living parts of plants) need to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the country of origin to enter the EU. Travelers are subject to the same rules for the import of plants and plant products as for commercial consignments.

Various other legal texts, such as import derogations, emergency measures and control measures, further detailing and elaborating on Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 are available on the website of the European Commission.

The Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/1702 lists 20 quarantine pests as priority pests, including Xylella fastidiosa, the Japanese beetle, the Asian long-horned beetle, the Emerald Ash Borer, Citrus greening and Spodoptera frugiperda, whose economic, environmental and social impact on the EU territory are the most severe. For these 20 specific pests, Member States will have to adopt enhanced provisions: annual surveys, action plans for eradication, simulation exercises and information campaigns to the public when they are found to be present.

For scientific or educational purposes, or for trials, varietal selections or for breeding purposes, derogations on the introduction of quarantine pests are provided for by Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/829 and Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2148.

Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 has been supplemented with national Belgian legislation by the Royal Decree of 22 February 2022 on protective measures against quarantine pests to plants and plant products.

Plant Protection Products

European legislation

Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and repealing Council Directives 79/117/EEC and 91/414/EEC.

Belgian legislation

Royal Decree of 28/02/1994 on the storage, placing on the market and use of pesticides for agricultural purposes.

Fertilising Products

European legislation

Regulation (EC) No. 1069/2009 of the European Parliament and the Council of 21 October 2009 laying down health rules as regards animal by-products and derived products not intended for human consumption and repealing Regulation (EC) No. 1774/2002 (Regulation animal by-products).

Commission Regulation (EU) No. 142/2011 of 25 February 2011 implementing Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down health rules as regards animal by-products and derived products not intended for human consumption and implementing Council Directive 97/78/EC as regards certain samples and items exempt from veterinary checks at the border under that Directive.

Regulation (EU) No. 2019/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 laying down rules on the making available on the market of EU fertilising products and amending Regulations (EC) No 1069/2009 and (EC) No 1107/2009 and repealing Regulation (EC) No 2003/2003.

Belgian legislation

Royal Decree of 28/01/2013 on the marketing and the use of fertilisers, soil improvers and growing media

Last updated: 07/03/2024