Copa-Cogeca welcomes moves to modernize rules and reduce the administrative burden for producers under EU Commission plans on future EU quality policy, but is worried that some measures in the plans could threaten the credibility of the whole system.

Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said “I welcome the fact that provisions on wine, spirits and aromatised wines will be kept separate from EU legislation on geographical Indications (PGIs) thus maintaining each sectors specificities and avoiding wine provisions from being scattered across various pieces of legislation. This is in line with our views. Big efforts have also been made by the Commission to reduce the administrative burden for registering products under EU legislation on PGIs, such as shortening the registration procedure. The level of protection of the system has also been enhanced. Furthermore, the role and responsibilities of producer groups in managing PGIs has been recognised for the first time. This is a step forward.”

He also welcomed the EC initiative to develop EU best- practices guidelines for voluntary certification schemes as well as EU guidelines on the labelling of foodstuffs using PDOs are PGIs as ingredients. “These two instruments are to be adapted and updated on a regular basis. Copa-Cogeca would like to to be associated with these future developments”, he added.

He continued “The Commission proposals also suggest modernising and further rationalising marketing standards. Whilst “general marketing standards” are introduced, the Commission would now have the legal basis to adopt detailed marketing and quality

requirements for new sectors through delegated acts. It is good that they can develop new provisions on marketing standards for some sectors as marketing standards can help to ensure fair competition and trading, market transparency and consumer information. Along these lines, we believe that the European Commission could also develop specific marketing standards in other sector which are not so far covered by this proposal, such as for honey products ”.

But the Chairman of Copa-Cogeca s’ Working Party on Quality Olivier de Carne was disappointed that the Commission has excluded “mountain farming” from the scope of the text. We trust that the Commission will present again this point as early as possible. The fact that  “direct sales” were also excluded came to us as a surprise. In order to clarify this new concept, it is important for us that we can have a wide and constructive debate on this question in the near future”.

“Copa- Cogeca is concerned about the Commission’s reinforced legislative powers where it can modify, derogate or create exemptions to  the marketing standards”, he warned. “We also fail to understand the reasons why the European Commission modified the definitions and conditions which products covered by EU legislation on protected designations of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indications (PGIs) have to meet. We want guarantees that these amendments will not call into question the whole system which has so far worked well. It is indeed vital for us not to relax the existing definitions, which guarantee that a product comes from a specific area and protects the EU’s high quality produce, thereby helping to maintain employment in EU rural areas”.

Amanda Cheesley

Press Officer