Monday, 10 June 2019 16:41

High Level Conference on Transboundary Animal Diseases

On June 10th 2019, in the Parliament Palace was held the High Level Conference on Transboundary Animal Diseases, an event organized under the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Next to the Minister Petre Daea, at the event were present also the European Commissioner for Food Health and Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, Geronimo Brănescu, the President of the National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority, as well as senior European officials (Pekka Pesonen, Secretary General of Copa Cogeca, Bernard Van Goethem, DG Sante Director, and Eran Raizman, senior expert at the FAO Animal Health and Production Office). Also, reputed academics, researchers and experts from EU countries lectured on the subjects discussed at the conference.

The topics addressed were of particular importance, such as: farmers' perspective on cross-border diseases risk management in order to ensure continuity of work, FAO assistance to states affected by cross-border diseases, including African Swine Fever (ASF) and Pest of small ruminants, EU's point of view on cross-border animal diseases, the role of EFSA in helping Member States to deal with these epidemics, the importance of cooperation in cross-border animal diseases, the experience of Member States in the management of transboundary diseases regarding avian influenza, African swine fever, Pests of small ruminants and the high economic implications of cross-border diseases in Europe.

Minister Petre Daea opened the conference works, emphasizing that the main objective of the event was to make an exchange of views and best practices, but also to identify effective ways of action for the future in order to preserve animal health and manage food resources.

In his speech, the Minister underlined that animal health and the management of transboundary diseases are vital to maintain an efficient agriculture in the European Union. Petre Daea highlighted the efforts made by the European Commission through the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety as well as those of the World Organization for Animal Health and of the

Food and Agriculture Organization, stressing the importance of cooperation and collaboration at continental, regional and national level, between the veterinary bodies for the control of animal diseases.

Thus, Minister Daea thanked Commissioner Andriukaitis for supporting Romania over the last two years, since the emergence of African Swine Fever (ASF) in our country.

Moreover, the Minister carried out an analysis of the progress of ASF in Romania, stating that since the first outbreak, the measures included in the Contingency Plan were immediately implemented, being achieved a connection between institutions of all those involved in fighting against ASF and he also pointed out that stopping the virus has been made possible also thanks to the technical assistance and to the financial support provided by the Commission.  

Furthermore, the Romanian Minister estimated that in order to be successful in combating animal diseases, it is necessary to maintain high standards of investment in well-organized veterinary bodies and to make permanent improvements to it. He also expressed his confidence in the future European legislative package on animal health, which will enter into force in April 2021, creating new possibilities for adapting the fight against communicable diseases in animals and humans, with an important role in providing new tools, modern prevention and control of these diseases.

In his speech, Commissioner Andriukaitis stressed that the issue of cross-border disease in animals should be kept in the attention of decision-makers at the European political level, which in his opinion is also the role of the conference held in Bucharest in the context of the Presidency of the EU Council. The European Commissioner also asserted that the development of joint strategies at European level is encouraged, cooperation and coordination between Member States being key elements in ensuring the protection of animal health.

As part of the conference agenda, Commissioner Andriukaitis, together with the other officials, will make field visits to see major agricultural investment objectives.