Geographical indications: Parliament’s position shall be taken seriously by the EU presidency

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Negotiations on EU geographical indications have hit an unexpected snag in the last trialogue while it was supposed to be the decisive one before the final one scheduled for 24 October in the presence of the President of the Council of Agriculture Ministers, Luis Planas, and Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski.

According to the lead negotiator of the European Parliament, Paolo de Castro, as well as the Committee chair of the Agriculture Committee, Norbert Lins, progress was hindered by the Spanish presidency’s unexpected rigidity, posing challenges in finding common ground with the European Parliament.

However, on key parameters of the initial Commission proposal, we consider that the European Parliament stroked the right balance to defend the interest of both producers and European consumers: 

  • In the case of wine, a balanced position is put forth by the Parliament, preserving provisions in the single CMO regulation. The insistence of the Council to incorporating all provisions into the horizontal Geographical Indication regulation even exceeds the Commission’s initial proposal.
  • The prerogatives of consortia that have been fighting for years to protect and guarantee the quality of protected designation of origin products, a symbol of the excellence of European agrifood, shall indeed be recognised.
  • The unwillingness to consider that the use of GIs used as an ingredient calls for an authorisation by the Consortium to avoid fraud and abuses detrimental to the image of quality products is surprising.
  • Finally, the will of the Parliament to foster and integrate sustainability criteria to be pursued could help producers to respond to consumers’ expectations.

Therefore, it would regrettable that reaching an agreement under the Spanish Presidency may prove more challenging than expected because of blockages on the home straight.