PUGLIA / AMSTERDAM – With climate change, diseases that previously wouldn't thrive in Europe have a greater chance of survival, making the peril for agriculture greater than ever. A system with very open borders for plant imports is threatening agriculture in the southern part of the European Union.

Plants that slowly choke to death, whiter and dry: That's the result of Xylella fastidiosa, a bacterium that has been ravaging the southern Italian olive fields. With a warming climate, the disease that killed more than 60 million olive trees since entering in 2013 is only one of many potentially dangerous plant pathogens on the European continent. Lack of regulation and border enforcement make it easy for the plant industry to import plants, even though they might carry dangerous diseases for biodiversity, agriculture, and, by extension, essential food culture.

Extensive reporting and data research reveals commercial interest - especially in the Netherlands and other Northern European countries, is causing great harm in Southern European countries.

Photo by Agostino Petroni: Inspector in Ravenna port, Italy, checks imported lemons for pests and diseases.

Team members

Agostino Petroni

Agostino Petroni is an independent Italian journalist based in Rome.

Agostino Petroni

Regin Winther Poulsen

Regin Winther Poulsen is a native Faroese independent journalist.

Regin Winther Poulsen

Hans van Scharen

Hans van Scharen is researcher and campaigner at Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO).

Hans van Scharen

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