On 17 December, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution by an overwhelming majority that calls for tough new measures to fight future outbreaks of foot and mouth disease.
One day before the Commission is scheduled to publish the new draft Directive on the foot and mouth disease, on 17 December the Parliament adopted a Resolution, which demands changes in EU legislation in order to tackle any new outbreaks with emergency vaccination as a "first-choice option".
The Resolution that incorporates the findings of Parliament's special Temporary Committee on Foot and Mouth Disease calls for a shift in emphasis in EU policy from "purely commercial considerations" so that the "social and psychological impact on the public of large-scale outbreaks, as well as animal welfare considerations", are also taken into account. MEPs want international trade policy to prevent discrimination against products from vaccinated livestock and say that consideration must be given to paying compensation in future also for the losses suffered by sectors other than farming, such as tourism.
Besides issuing EU-wide policy recommendations for the future, the Resolution also recalls problems in the management of the 2001 outbreak. It says that in the UK, delays in decision-making and the lack of effective contingency plans caused problems. In the Netherlands, the crisis was not tackled efficiently at regional level; capacity was at times insufficient to carry out the control measures; and not enough attention was paid to the views of the people affected.