The European Union must do more to prevent the spread of Xylella fastidiosa bacteria beyond Italy, where it is severely damaging olive trees and threatening overall production in some parts.
European Members of Parliament held a plenary session in Brussels on Wednesday (May 20) to debate growing concerns surrounding the prevalence of the bacteria in the production of olives throughout southern Europe.
The insect-spread Xylella fastidiosa, also known as leaf scorch, has wiped out thousands of hectares of plantations in southern Italy. No treatment is currently available for diseased plants in the field and affected plants tend either to remain infected for life or to collapse quickly.
MEPs welcome the EU decision to restrict imports of plants from affected areas in third countries, but blame the European Commission for often not reacting quickly enough to prevent plant diseases entering the EU, according to a release.
The resolution was approved by 507 votes to 115, with 37 abstentions.