Last 18 May, the European Union published an announcement concerning the Xylella fastidiosa, in view of the concern expressed by all member states as regards the spread of this bacterium.
If its presence is verified, the decision-makers are obliged to cordon off an area, consisting of the infected area and a buffer zone. In the specific case of Lecce Province, the main breeding ground being monitored, the buffer zone corresponds to a 10-km wide strip around the area affected by the infection. Altogether, an area with a 30-km radius is being watched.
Member states must monitor the situation within those areas through annual controls. The planting of host species within the infected area is strictly prohibited.
As regards the hotly debated issue of eradicating infected plants within a 100 m radius, some principles have been drawn up:
a) removal of host plants, regardless of their health status;
b) removal of plants known to be infected by the specified organism; and
c) removal of plants showing symptoms indicative of a possible infection or suspected of being infected by such organisms.
Member states affected by the infection should apply appropriate agricultural practices to manage X. fastidiosa and its vectors. A ban has been placed on the movement and commerce, within the European Union, of plants that have been grown for part of their life cycle within one of the demarcated areas.
Source: European Community’s press release