The EU acquis in this chapter is consisted of three subfields that complement each other:
1. Food safety includes rules on hygiene in the production, processing and placing on the market of food and feed, official controls and mechanisms for ensuring food safety.
2. Veterinary includes rules on the movement of animals and animal products, animal health, official controls on imports of products from third countries, and animal movement monitoring.
3. Phytosanitary control includes rules on the control of harmful organisms on plants and plant material, the placing on the market of plant protection products, seeds and planting material, control of pesticide residues in products of plant origin.
Also, this chapter covers regulations regarding genetically modified organisms.
When was the chapter opened?
Negotiation Chapter 12 – Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance has been opened at the Intergovernmental Conference in Brussels on 30 June 2016.
Montenegro had three opening benchmarks under negotiation Chapter 12:
1. Montenegro adopts the new framework legislation complying with the acquis, and makes provisions for a clear assignment of responsibilities, in particular for control bodies.
2. Montenegro presents to the Commission a comprehensive national strategy, including an action plan, which will serve as a basis for transposition, implementation and enforcement of the EU acquis for food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary policy, including plans for the development of the relevant administrative capacities and an estimation of the financial resources required. Particular attention should be given to a detailed action plan as regards the control and eradication of Classical Swine Fever for domestic pigs and wild boars after vaccination is discontinued.
3. Montenegro presents to the Commission a classification of all food establishments and all establishments handling animal by-products based on the acquis which will serve as a basis for a future National Program for the upgrading of food and animal by-products establishments.
By aligning the legal framework in this chapter with the EU acquis with the adoption of the Strategy for transposition and implementation of the EU acquis for Chapter 12 – Food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary policy with the General Action Plan and the Special Action Plan for the Suppression and Eradication of Classical Swine Fever. On September 3, 2014, and by adopting the Decision on the implementation of the procedure for assessing compliance with the EU requirements (categorization) of approved facilities in the food business and facilities for handling animal by-products on Montenegro met the opening benchmark.
Within the negotiation chapter 12, Montenegro is obliged to meet the following closing benchmarks:
1. Montenegrosubmits to the Commission an approvednationalprogramme for the upgrading of establishments for products of animal origin, includingestablishments for animal by-products. As regards the milksector, the nationalprogrammeshouldalsoinclude a strategy for the use of non-compliantrawmilk;
2. Montenegroprovides to the Commissionguarantees for the settingup of an EU compliantsystem for officialcontrols of live animals and animal products, includingitsfunding;
3. Montenegro continues to set up and develop, in accordance with the acquis, the relevantadministrativestructures, in particular as regardsfoodsafetycontrols, and to furtherincreaseitsadministrativecapacities and infrastructures. Montenegrodemonstratesthat it will have sufficientadministrativecapacity to correctlyimplement and apply all the acquiscovered by thischapter on accession.
What are the activities in the coming period?
In order to fulfill the closing benchmarks, on 12 July 2017, the Government of Montenegro adopted the National Programme for Upgrading of Establishments for Products of Animal Origin and Establishments for Animal By-products (NPUE) with the obligation of semi-annual reporting on the implementation to the Government of Montenegro and the European Commission.
In addition, on June 21, 2018, the Government of Montenegro adopted the National Programme for Improving the Raw Milk Quality with a plan for handling non-compliant raw milk, thereby fulfilling the obligations arising from the first closing benchmark.
Fulfilling of the second and third closing benchmarks is being carried out continuously. However, we should have in mind that meeting of these criteria is extremely complex and that considerable financial resources are needed. Montenegro is making daily efforts to ensure efficient administration, adequate infrastructure, which is a multiannual process.
Institutions / organizations participating in the negotiation group?
The negotiator for Chapter 12, is from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Montenegro, Head of Working group is from Administration for Food, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Affairs, while the contact person for the Working Group is from the European Integration Office.
Members of the working group for Chapter 12 are representatives of the following bodies and organizations: the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Affairs, Parliament of Montenegro, Ministry of Finance, Statistical Office of Montenegro – Monstat, Chamber of Economy Montenegro, PC Specialized Veterinary Laboratory, Institute of Public Health of Montenegro, Biotechnical Faculty – University of Montenegro, Faculty of Pharmacy- University of Montenegro, Faculty for Food Technology, Food Safety and Ecology- University of Donja Gorica, Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices of Montenegro, Center for Ecotoxicological Research, Laboratory for Marine Chemistry and Oceanography at the Institute of Marine Biology, Veterinary Chamber of Montenegro, PVA ,,Popović”, PVA,,Animavet”, ,,Fru Monte” DOO, Dairy ,,LazineŠimšićMontmilk”, IM ,,Goranović” DOO, ,,Meso-promet” DOO, ,,Montenegro eggs” DOO, NGO ,,Protection Network for dogs and cats”, ,,13 Jul Plantaze” AD, ,,Water group” DOO, ,,Ekoplant” DOO and ,,Visnjic komerc” DOO.
What are the benefits to Montenegro of this chapter?
Montenegro adjusts its standards to the European ones in order to ensure the highest level of food safety, and in addition enables Montenegrin producers to develop capacities and to strengthen competitiveness for the future marketing of their products.
What is important to keep in mind when it comes to products is that the EU does not restrict the production process for household consumption and this products will be manufactured as before, however, if they are placed on the market they will have to meet certain hygiene standards, and all in order to protect consumers. This also applies to traditional products such as milk, cheese, kajmak and other products that will be able to placed on market only in compliance with hygiene requirements, which will ultimately contribute to greater safety and quality of these products.
As a result of the process of adjusting to EU standards, Montenegro will have, among other things, improved facilities for meat production and processing, improved animal breeding on farms, better animal welfare standards, controlled use of pesticides in line with EU standards. Food produced in Montenegro will have a free path to European consumers, and domestic consumers will be guaranteed the same high standards of food safety that European consumers currently have.