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African swine fever still poses a challenge and threat – local and regional authorities call for increased cooperation to fight the disease  
The European Committee of the Regions, on the initiative of Sławomir Sosnowski, Member of the Lubelskie Regional Assembly, will adopt an opinion on African swine fever (ASF) at its October plenary session. Local and regional authorities point out that the African swine fever epidemic constitutes a threat to rural development and the pork market.

The situation concerning the ASF epidemic is a threat to the environment, the economy and, most importantly, people living in rural areas and who are involved in pig production. The objective of this opinion is to call on the European Commission to adopt more decisive measures and legislative solutions to achieve a balance in the development of rural areas, through means such as regulating the population of boars, which are the main carriers of the ASF virus, in central and eastern Europe.

According to Sławomir Sosnowski (PL/EPP/Polish People's Party), "ASF is a problem that cannot be solved because there is no vaccination against it. We must recognise that ASF is a problem for the whole of the EU, including in terms of the economy and trade. Its effects must be mitigated. We must do everything in our power to find a vaccination against ASF. We must strengthen international cooperation on this issue and call for financial support."

The CoR stresses that African swine fever is a threat and challenge at the local, regional, national and European levels, which is why it also calls for all stakeholders to fight this highly dangerous virus through even greater cooperation. Funding to combat ASF must be increased immediately and radically, both for ad-hoc measures and research into ASF, including an effective vaccination against this disease. The CoR also calls on the European Commission to further activate, monitor and evaluate actions to combat ASF at the Member State level, with the participation of local and regional authorities.

The speed at which the virus has spread to its current level could lead to the collapse of the European pork market and deprive hundreds of thousands of farmers of their source of income. Cross-border cooperation is necessary to fight this disease, which has become an epidemic in several EU Member States and regions (between January and mid-April 2018, 1492 cases of the illness were recorded in Poland, 782 cases in wild boars in Lithuania, 286 in Latvia, 150 cases in Estonia, 25 in the Czech Republic and 24 in Italy).

Additional information

African swine fever is a severe, viral and chronic disease in swine. It was first discovered in Kenya in 1910 and the first cases in Poland were observed in dead wild boars in February 2014. The virus causing the disease – ASF – is resistant to high temperatures and smoking and can even last a thousand days in frozen meat. The mortality of affected animals is virtually 100 percent.

Contact:

Wioletta Wojewódzka
tel. +32 2 282 22 89
+32 473 843 986
wioletta.wojewodzka@cor.europa.eu