Frequently Asked Questions

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Throughout the EU policy-making process, there are opportunities for stakeholders and governments to comment on proposals that are under consideration. The European Commission provides opportunities to comment on/ during a:

  • Call for evidence: early in the policy-making process, the Commission opens a call for evidence that will describe the problem to be tackled and EU objectives, outlining policy options and describing the consultation strategy.
  • Public consultation: in a second phase, the European Commission can open a public consultation to collect more targeted information on legislative options prior to drafting legislation. This feedback is typically provided in the form of a questionnaire.
  • Draft legislative acts: where the Commission adopts an Implementing Act, it must usually consult a committee in which every EU country is represented. Citizens and other stakeholders can provide feedback on the draft text of an implementing act for 4 weeks before the relevant committee votes to accept or reject it.
  • Adopted Act: Where the European Commission adopts a legislative proposal, it opens feedback for a minimum period of 8 weeks. That feedback is summarised by the European Commission and presented to the European Parliament and Council with the aim of feeding into the legislative debate.

A database of all open EU consultations can be accessed via the Commission’s Published initiatives webpage.

All technical legislation is notified to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee, and/or the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Committee. WTO member competent authorities may comment on the notified proposal, generally within 60 days of notification. An overview of notifications can be found on the WTO’s ePing SPS & TBT Platform.

The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) was set up to allow the rapid exchange of information between EU Member States on risks to public health related to the food chain. On the basis of information shared, products can potentially be recalled from the market with the aim of preventing food safety risks before they cause harm. Only Member States have access to the detail of individual cases of food risk that are notified to RASFF. However, it is possible for the public to have access to summary information via the RASFF Window notification database.

Certain EU import regulations require action by national administrations in the exporting country. For example, before individual companies can export meat, fish and animal products from a given country, the authorities must meet certain requirements and provide information to the Commission in order to be included in a list of third countries authorised to export such products.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is an EU agency that provides an impartial source of scientific advice to risk managers (European Commission and Member States). EFSA collects and analyses existing research and data provided by Member States or food operators. As a basic principle, EU food law is based on the risk analysis provided by EFSA [General Food Law, Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, Art. 5]. When developing new measures, risk managers may also take into account other legitimate factors (social, economic, environmental) and the precautionary principle. In 2021, a new Regulation [(EU) 2019/1381] was adopted to improve the transparency of EFSA’s work and help maintain public confidence in the body.

Basic EU legislation must have the agreement of the Council of the EU and the European Parliament, a process known as the ordinary legislative procedure. After the adoption of a proposal by the European Commission, this process of consultation and reaching agreement between the three institutions can take 12–18 months, but in many cases lasts much longer (see the EU video How do proposals become EU law?). Basic EU legislation provides the legal framework within which more detailed and elaborate rules can be developed through Delegated and Implementing Acts.

Many EU laws are Regulations that are directly applicable in EU Member States. Some laws are Directives, which only come into effect when they are incorporated (or transposed) into the national law of the Member State. A Directive sets out a goal that all EU countries must achieve, but it is up to each Member State to develop its own laws to achieve these goals. A Directive will set a timeframe in which Member States must adopt national laws. The Single-Use Plastics Directive is a recent example of a law that is being transposed into national laws. This may lead to different rules across EU Member States.

In the European Union, the Council of Ministers and European Parliament are responsible for adopting legislation. However, they can delegate to the Commission the power to adopt Delegated Acts. This permits the Commission to act quickly and flexibly, making use of its technical expertise. Delegated Acts supplement or amend basic EU laws, but cannot go beyond the scope of the legislation. The Commission adopts Delegated Acts after consulting national experts and stakeholders. Delegated Acts are then submitted to the Council and the Parliament, who cannot change the acts, but under certain conditions may veto them.

Member States are responsible for implementing EU Directives and Regulations. Further acts are sometimes needed to ensure these Directives and Regulations are implemented uniformly. These acts confer powers on the Commission to adopt Implementing Acts. The Commission submits draft acts to committees made up of member state representatives (known as “comitology”). The European Parliament has no powers in relation to Implementing Acts.

Although the Lisbon Treaty that reorganised the powers of EU institutions entered into force in 2009, there is still ongoing discussion between these institutions on the appropriate implementing and delegated powers of the Commission in regard to individual pieces of legislation. In some cases, therefore, the powers are still those that applied before the Lisbon Treaty, in which case the term “Commission Regulation” rather than “Commission Delegated/ Implementing Regulation” is used.

All records in the AGRINFO database are currently provided in English only. Making our resources available in multiple languages would be very challenging due to the number of languages spoken in our 143 partner countries, and the technical difficulties of accurately translating legal texts. Unfortunately we are not currently able to provide official translations, although we hope this can be considered at a future date.

At this time, we recommend using machine translation software to convert the texts into your preferred language.

There are a number of different tools that are freely available. For example, DeepL allows you to copy / paste and translate up to 3,000 characters at a time or translate Word or PDF documents.

Your browser may have built-in features to automatically translate web pages. Google Chrome, for example, now offers Google Translate as a built-in tool.

Importantly, please be aware that automatic translation is not always accurate and the quality can vary, particularly for technical content. These tools can, however, help to provide a general understanding of the content.

We appreciate your understanding, and we continue to seek ways to make our resources more accessible to our global audience.

Atualmente, os documentos da base de dados do AGRINFO estão disponíveis apenas em inglês. Disponibilizar os nossos recursos em vários idiomas seria um desafio muito grande devido ao número de idiomas diferentes falados nos nossos 143 países parceiros e às dificuldades técnicas de traduzir textos legais com precisão. Infelizmente, de momento, não podemos fornecer traduções oficiais, embora esperemos que isso possa acontecer num futuro próximo.

Neste momento, recomendamos usar um software de tradução automática para converter os textos no seu idioma preferido.

Existem várias ferramentas disponíveis gratuitamente. Por exemplo, o DeepL permite colar e traduzir até 3.000 caracteres de uma vez, ou traduzir documentos Word e PDF.

O seu navegador também pode ter opções integradas para traduzir automaticamente páginas web. Por exemplo, o Google Chrome integra o Google Translate. É importante sublinhar que a tradução automática nem sempre é precisa e que a qualidade pode variar, especialmente para conteúdo técnico. No entanto, essas ferramentas podem ajudar a fornecer uma compreensão geral do conteúdo.

Agradecemos sua compreensão e continuamos a trabalhar para tornar os nossos recursos mais acessíveis globalmente.

Actualmente, todos los documentos en la base de datos de AGRINFO están disponibles únicamente en inglés. Ofrecer nuestros recursos en múltiples idiomas sería un gran desafío debido al número de idiomas hablados en nuestros 143 países socios, y a las dificultades técnicas de traducir con precisión textos legales. Lamentablemente, en este momento no podemos ofrecer traducciones oficiales, aunque esperamos que esto pueda considerarse en el futuro.

En este momento, recomendamos utilizar un software de traducción automática para convertir los textos a su idioma preferido.

Existen varias herramientas disponibles de forma gratuita. Por ejemplo, DeepL le permite copiar/pegar y traducir hasta 3.000 caracteres a la vez, o traducir documentos Word o PDF.

Es posible que su navegador tenga funciones integradas para traducir automáticamente páginas web. Por ejemplo, Google Chrome ahora ofrece Google Translate como una herramienta integrada.

Es importante tener en cuenta que la traducción automática no siempre es exacta y la calidad puede variar, especialmente para contenido técnico. Sin embargo, estas herramientas pueden ayudar a obtener una comprensión general del contenido.

Agradecemos su comprensión y seguimos buscando formas de hacer que nuestros recursos sean más accesibles para nuestra audiencia global.

Tous les documents de la base de données AGRINFO sont actuellement disponibles uniquement en anglais. Rendre nos ressources disponibles dans plusieurs langues serait très difficile en raison du nombre de langues parlées dans nos 143 pays partenaires, ainsi que des difficultés techniques liées à la traduction précise des textes juridiques. Malheureusement, nous ne sommes actuellement pas en mesure de fournir des traductions officielles, bien que nous espérons que cela puisse être envisagé à l'avenir.

À l'heure actuelle, nous vous recommandons d'utiliser un logiciel de traduction automatique pour convertir les textes dans votre langue préférée.

Il existe plusieurs outils différents disponibles gratuitement. Par exemple, DeepL vous permet de copier/coller et de traduire jusqu'à 3 000 caractères à la fois ou de traduire des documents Word ou PDF.

Votre navigateur peut également avoir des fonctionnalités intégrées pour traduire automatiquement les pages web. Par exemple, Google Chrome propose désormais Google Translate en tant qu'outil intégré.

Il est important de noter que la traduction automatique n'est pas toujours précise et la qualité peut varier, en particulier pour les contenus techniques. Cependant, ces outils peuvent vous aider à obtenir une compréhension générale du contenu.

Nous vous remercions de votre compréhension et nous continuons à chercher des moyens de rendre nos ressources plus accessibles à notre public mondial.