Tag Archives: Risk

European Union Animal Health Strategy

European Union Animal Health Strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Union Animal Health Strategy


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Animal health

European Union Animal Health Strategy (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on a new Animal Health Strategy for the European Union (2007-2013) where ‘Prevention is better than cure’ [COM(2007) 539 final – not published in the Official Journal].


The European animal health strategy is based on an evaluation started by the Commission in 2004 and covers the health of all animals in the European Union (EU).

It has the following objectives:

  • to protect public health and food safety;
  • to promote farming and the rural economy;
  • to ensure the necessary animal movements;
  • to contribute to the sustainable development of the EU.

The first pillar: prioritisation of EU intervention

The foundations of Community action must be based on an evaluation of the main threats to animal health. This analysis must determine the relevance of these threats to the objectives of the EU strategy, the ‘acceptable level of risk’ for the Community and the relative priority of the action to be taken to reduce the risk. In this respect, Community action will be aimed at reducing this risk to a negligible level, since zero risk cannot be achieved. Furthermore, the Community applies the precautionary principle, which provides for the use of temporary measures if there is a potentially serious threat to health but no scientific certainty of this.

The representatives of all interested parties in the risk management process are called on to provide their input to Community decision-making. Risks will be analysed and managed by defining quantifiable objectives, studying resources and assessing the progress achieved.

The second pillar: a modern animal health framework

The EU and international organisations, such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Bank, recognise the importance of protecting animal health.

The major Community instrument for protecting animal health consists of adapted and constantly updated legislation that applies the principles of the Community policy and its international obligations. With a view to improving this legislation and making it more effective, the EU hopes to put in place a clear, single regulatory framework consistent with OIE guidelines and the Codex Alimentarius.

Appropriate sharing of costs, benefits and responsibilities could contribute to the strategy’s success and help limit the financial risks for Member States and the Community by providing incentives for preventing animal-related threats.

The Member States are responsible for securing the EU’s external borders against disease incursions and leading the response to outbreaks of exotic diseases. Moreover, compensation for private property destroyed for the public good must be provided by governments. Responsibility for the health of animals lies primarily with animal owners and collectively with the industry. In order for the strategy to be successful, all parties, including the insurance sector, need to be fully committed participants.

The Codex Alimentarius and the OIE are essential references for legislation on animal diseases. The EU follows their guidelines and encourages other international members to base their legislation on the same values. In addition, the EU is considering the possibility of Community membership of the OIE.

Improved animal health will increase the competitiveness of European companies. Moreover, by harmonising these rules, it will be possible to ensure fair competition in the Community market and extend this common basis to imports. With regard to exports, better prioritisation of actions against health barriers should help ensure better access to export markets.

The third pillar: animal-related threat prevention, surveillance and crisis preparedness

The promotion and financing of on-farm biosecurity * measures should constitute important reference criteria for zoning and compartmentalisation procedures.

Movements of food of animal origin and animal feed are identified and traced using an exchange control system and a paper-based system identifying each animal. With the aim of integrating the system at EU level, an electronic system will gradually be introduced.

Measures have been envisaged to improve border biosecurity without disrupting the cross-border movement of people and agricultural goods, which include not only improving current legislation and cooperation between the parties involved in customs checks, but also providing technical assistance to developing countries, so that they can meet Community standards.

The EU proposes supporting veterinary surveillance through improved cooperation between the parties concerned and appropriate financial resources and by encouraging training in the sector. The scientific information gathered from this surveillance activity can aid decision-making for the EU institutions, governments and other stakeholders in the animal health protection sector.

The EU must be better prepared to deal with emergencies and it can do so by adopting an integrated approach and through the more widespread use of vaccines.

The fourth pillar: science, innovation and research

The EU is encouraging scientific and technological development in the field of public and animal health. To this end, Community and national reference laboratories and European agencies (particularly the European Food Safety Authority and the European Medicines Agency) have been called upon to cooperate and play a key role in scientific work.

Innovation and research in the food safety sector depend on a whole series of instruments, such as the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and the Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals.

Key terms used in the act
Biosecurity: the measures taken to combat diseases or to prevent them from spreading. These measures relate to the treatment of new and sick animals, the transport of people, animals and equipment, the feeding of animals and the cleaning of their holdings.

Protection of workers from exposure to biological agents

Protection of workers from exposure to biological agents

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Protection of workers from exposure to biological agents


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Protection of workers from exposure to biological agents

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2000/54/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 18 September 2000 on the protection of workers from risks related to exposure to biological agents at work (seventh individual directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).


This Directive protects the health and safety of workers exposed to biological agents * whilst undertaking their work.

Biological agents are classified into four risk groups, according to the risk of infection involved:

  • group 1 includes agents that are unlikely to cause human disease;
  • group 2 concerns agents that can cause human disease but are unlikely to spread to the community, for which effective treatment is available;
  • group 3 includes agents that can cause human disease and may spread to the community, although prevention or treatment is possible;
  • group 4 concerns agents that can cause severe human disease. They present a high risk of spreading to the community, for which there is no effective treatment.

Risk assessment

Risk assessment must be carried out for all professional activities that may expose workers to biological agents. The nature, degree and duration of exposure shall be determined in order to plan preventive measures.

The employer shall participate in regular risk assessments.

Employers’ obligations

If the activity so permits, the employer must replace the harmful agents with agents that are not dangerous or are less dangerous, considering their conditions of use and the level of scientific knowledge thereof.

Moreover, if there is a risk to the safety or health of workers, the employer shall ensure that such risk is reduced to a sufficiently low level. The employer may:

  • limit the number of workers exposed to a minimum;
  • control the release of agents into the workplace, using technical procedures;
  • organise collective and/or individual protection measures;
  • prevent or reduce accidental release outside the workplace, using hygiene measures;
  • install risk warning signs;
  • draw up plans to deal with accidents;
  • provide for the collection, storage and disposal of waste;
  • arrange for safe handling conditions and transport of biological agents.

The employer is obliged to keep a list of workers exposed to group 3 and/or group 4 agents. This list may be kept for up to 40 years in some cases. Furthermore, the employer shall inform the competent national authority when group 2, group 3 or group 4 biological agents are used for the first time.

Lastly, the employer shall ensure that workers and/or their representatives are sufficiently informed and trained, concerning:

  • potential risks to health;
  • precautions to be taken to prevent exposure;
  • hygiene rules;
  • use of protective equipment and clothing;
  • measures to be taken in the case of incidents.

If there is an accident or incident, the employer shall inform workers and/or their representatives as soon as possible of the causes, risks and measures to be taken.

Health surveillance

The Member States shall establish arrangements to carry out the health surveillance of workers, prior to and following exposure to biological agents.


Directive 90/679/EEC on the risks related to exposure of workers to biological agents is repealed.

Key terms
  • Biological agents: micro-organisms, including those which have been genetically modified, cell cultures and human endoparasites, which may be able to provoke any infection, allergy or toxicity.
  • Micro-organism: a microbiological entity, cellular or non-cellular, capable of replication or of transferring genetic material.
  • Cell culture: the in-vitro growth of cells derived from multicellular organisms.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2000/54/EC



OJ L 262 of 17.10.2000

Flood management and evaluation

Flood management and evaluation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Flood management and evaluation


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Civil protection

Flood management and evaluation

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood risks.


The Directive aims to establish a common framework for assessing and reducing the risk that floods within the European Union pose to human health, the environment, property and economic activity.

The Directive covers all types of floods, both along rivers and in coastal areas. There are also other risks, such as urban floods and sewer floods, which must also be taken into account.

The proposed prevention and management measures are organised by river basin districts (which may cover several river basins), as established by the Water Framework Directive. The measures include the preliminary assessment of risks and the establishment of maps of areas at risk and flood management plans.

Preliminary assessment

Member States must carry out a preliminary assessment of risks for each river basin district or part of a district located in their territory by 22 December 2011 at the latest. This includes gathering information on the boundaries of river basins in the district concerned, floods that have occurred in the past, the likelihood of future floods and the estimated consequences.

On the basis of the assessment, Member States must categorise river basins according to whether or not they have a significant potential flood risk. This assessment and the resulting categories assigned to river basins must be published and reviewed by 22 December 2018 and every six years thereafter.

Flood risk maps

Member States must draw up maps identifying all areas posing a risk of flooding and indicating the probability (high, medium or low) of flooding for each of those areas and the potential damage for local populations, property and the environment.

These maps must be drawn up and published by 22 December 2013 at the latest. They must be reviewed every six years.

Flood risk management plans

Member States must prepare and implement flood risk management plans for each river basin district. Where the area concerned extends into several countries, the Member States must cooperate in preparing, as far as is possible, a single management plan.

In preparing a management plan, appropriate levels of protection must be established for each river basin, sub-basin and stretch of coastline and measures must be drawn up to achieve those levels of protection.

Management measures must focus on reducing the probability of flooding and the potential consequences of flooding. They must cover prevention, protection and preparedness and must take account of relevant aspects, such as water management, soil management, spatial planning, land use and nature conservation. These measures must not increase flood risks in neighbouring countries unless these measures have been coordinated and a solution has been found among the Member States concerned.

Each management plan must contain certain components, including the level of protection, the measures planned, flood risk maps, and, in subsequent management plans, an assessment of the progress made since the last management plan was implemented.

Flood risk maps and management plans must be coordinated with the Water Framework Directive, particularly as regards the characterisation of river basins, management plans for river basins and public consultation and information procedures.

All the parties concerned must be allowed to participate in an appropriate manner in preparing management plans. These plans must be completed and published by 22 December 2015. They must be reviewed every six years.


Between 1998 and 2004, Europe suffered over 100 major floods, causing some 700 fatalities, the displacement of about half a million people and insured economic losses totalling at least 25 billion.

Floods are natural phenomena which cannot be prevented. However, human activity is contributing to increasing their likelihood and their impact. The risk of flooding and the scale of damage will increase in the future as a result of climate change, inappropriate river management, construction in flood risk areas and the increase in people and property in these areas.

Considering that most of the river basins in Europe are shared, action is more effective at Community level, since this allows better risk assessment and the coordination of measures taken by the Member States.

Before drawing up the proposal, the Commission consulted widely with interested parties and took advice from a wide range of experts, from specialists in hydrology and geology to local and regional authorities and the insurance industry.


Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2007/60/EC 26.11.2007 25.11.2009 OJ L 288 of 6.11.2007

Related Acts

Commission Communication of 12 July 2004 “Flood risk management – flood prevention, protection and mitigation” [

COM(2004) 472 final

– Not published in the Official Journal].
Given the risk to human life, property and the environment, the Commission has analysed the measures already adopted and proposed an action programme to prevent floods, protect against them and mitigate their effects.