530 days and still counting…

The new Regulations (EC) 834/2007 and 889/2008 for Organic Farming were set into force from January 1st, 2009 and European Member States were obligated to adjust their National Legislation accordingly. Greece of course is a different case. The Ministry of Rural Development and Food (Directorate of Organic Farming) is still struggling to finalize the new Ministerial Decision which will cover the new Regulations for Organic Farming, through a daedalean consultation process where many governmental bodies and stakeholders are involved. 530 days have already passed and we are still counting…

What’s going on in the meantime?

Organic Farming in Greece (Production, Processing, Labeling, Control System, etc) is still governed by the old JMD (Joint Ministerial Decision – Greek Legislation) 245090/10.1.2006 which refers to the withdrawn Regulation (EEC) 2092/1991, so we are actually facing a paradox: The whole Organic Sector in Greece (including the Ministry) is “unofficially” working with the new regulations whilst an ongoing process of public consultation is open for defining the new JMD in order to provide the Sector with its legislative working basis.

  • New Certification Bodies are expecting to get licensed having adjusted their Quality Systems to the new EC Regulations and the old Greek Legislation and when the new JMD will be published, they will be expected to update their working procedures once again.
  • Operators are working under the new Regulations and in the meantime they also have to respect the provisions laid down in the old Greek Legislation
  • Consumers do not have the faintest idea of what’s going on! (and it ‘d better stay this way…)

When will it come to an end?

Actually after a year and half, with the Sector working like a Swiss clock there is no point for replacing the old JMD. If everything works properly and since no voices of upset were raised so far, there is no point of changing something. A change could have an opposite result at this stage because the worst thing in business is when you change the rules when nobody complaints.

This case could rather be another confirmation of what an extremely “flexible” and “adaptable” nation we are and it also confirms the old saying: “If there’s a will, there’s a way”.

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