TIRANA, February 7
The European Union (EU) launched a Euro five million program on food safety support to Albania on Wednesday. For four years, Ireland and Finland will help Albania as an EU candidate country to strengthen its food safety and veterinary system, involving consumers in every step. The four-year support for the candidate country aims to scale up Albania’s food safety, veterinary and plant health standards.
This partnership provides Albanian authorities with unique access to counterpart organizations and individuals in two EU Member States which have directly comparable responsibilities under EU food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary law, and long experience in reforming food safety policy and management systems over the last three decades.
The EUR five million “Support to food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary standards” program will be implemented by a group of public bodies from the EU Member States led by the Irish Food Safety Authority. The group includes also the Finnish Food Safety Authority, the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and CBS Creative Business Solutions, an Albanian NGO.
EU Ambassador to Albania Luigi Soreca, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development of Albania Bledi Cuci, Minister of State for European Affairs of Ireland Helen McEntee, and State Secretary with Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland Samuli Virtanen unveiled details about the program to the media during a joint press conference in Europe House.
The program will field experts in food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary systems, to help Albania to harmonize its legislation to EU norms, to strengthen safety at all stages of the food chain and to improve consumer and business awareness of food safety issues in the south-eastern European country.
“The project we are launching today will bring Albania closer to EU standards. It will improve Albanians’ everyday life and health. But let me emphasize one last benefit: it will contribute to opening the EU market to Albanian products. Our legislation is very clear about this, food items cannot be imported unless they respect the integrity of the EU food chain,” Head of the EU Delegation to Albania, Ambassador Soreca said.
On her part, the Minister of State McEntee said this is an important collaboration between Albania and two EU Member States, Ireland and Finland, with funding support from the European Union.
“This is a great example of the European Union in action, with EU Members supporting a candidate country to harmonize its laws and regulations with European norms, and helping create a food safety system and culture that matches the best examples in the world,” Minister McEntee said.
Ireland and Finland consistently rank among the world’s leading examples of food safety and food security. Under the project, they will bring this experience to Albania to strengthen its food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary systems in line with EU standards.
Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
News Source/Photo Credit: EU in Albania