Experts from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the World Organisation for Animal Health have drawn attention to the emergence of a new H5N8 strain of bird flu.

The presence of the new strain has been confirmed in poultry farms in three EU Member States, and in one case it has been detected in wild birds. Outbreaks of bird flu were detected in countries in east and south-east Asia at the beginning of the year, and this supports the hypothesis that wild birds may have helped to spread the virus.

Tens of thousands of birds have already been slaughtered and deliveries of chicken have been halted in the affected areas. Urgent measures are needed to prevent the outbreak from spreading and jeopardising the entire EU poultry sector.

1. Does the Commission have an action plan to isolate and halt the spread of bird flu outbreaks?

2. What can the Commission do to support Member States’ efforts to combat the bird flu virus?

3. What support will be given to producers who have suffered losses as a result of the spread of this virus?