Environment and agriculture minister Vicenç Vidal speaking yesterday.


There will be a mighty sigh of relief at the news that the European Commission is to accept the Balearic proposal for dealing with the xylella fastidiosa bacterium. The health and food safety committee is due to meet on Thursday and Friday next week, and it is understood that it will approve the Balearic plan of containment. The great fear had been that Brussels would insist on eradication, which could have meant the loss of thousands of trees and a major impact on the landscape as well as agricultural production.

The environment and agriculture minister, Vicenç Vidal, announced this to the press at parliament yesterday. He had been asked what the situation was by the leader of the PP and Vidal's predecessor, Biel Company, but was still awaiting information from Madrid where a meeting was finalising measures to be applied in general in Spain. Brussels had told the national agriculture ministry on Monday that it would be accepting the Balearic containment policy.

This means that only trees that are infected are cut down. The eradication measure would mean the removal of all trees and plants susceptible to the bacterium within a 100 metre radius of an infected tree.