Europe’s Fanaticism on Protected Food Names Sours One Country’s Entry into the EU
May 20th, 2013
(Washington, D.C., May 20, 2013) The latest victim of the European Commission’s (EC) overreach on protected food names is Croatia, which in order to join the European Union on July 1, must cease using the name “Prosek” on a traditional sweet dessert wine produced in the country for centuries. The EC maintains that Croatia can no longer use the name Prosek – even for sales within Croatia, so as not to be confused with Italy’s light sparkling wine “Prosecco.”
“The EC’s intransigence on the issue of protected names has already affected trade in dozens of countries, and there’s no end in sight,” said Jaime Castaneda, Executive Director of the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN). “Now is the time to push back on the EC and establish logical rules on geographical indications (GIs) in order to preserve both well-designed protected names and commonly used ones.”
The Croatian production of Prosek has a tradition dating back centuries, while Prosecco is a product whose name was created only a few decades ago. Parents on Croatia’s eastern coast maintain an ancient tradition of making a bottle of Prosek when a child is born, and saving it to open on his or her wedding day. In addition to the Prosek dispute, EU member Slovenia is arguing that Croatia can no longer market the common red wine Teran, even while Croatia argues that Teran is a generic grape variety that should not qualify as a “protected” name.
“Anyone who has doubted how serious an issue the EC’s overreach is, and how important it is to take action, need only look at this latest example,” Castaneda added. “All over the world the EC has been bullying countries to agree with its extreme positions on protected names – in trade agreements, in confiscation of products at international trade events, and, here, in qualifications to enter the EU. Countries around the world – especially developing countries – need to understand what the EC has been doing and how important it is to push back and set up more logical guidelines.”
CCFN’s goal is to work with leaders worldwide in agriculture, trade and intellectual property rights, and to foster adoption of high-standard and model geographical indication guidelines throughout the world.
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The Consortium for Common Food Names is an independent, international non-profit alliance that represents the interests of consumers, farmers, food producers and retailers. Those interested in joining can find information at www.CommonFoodNames.com.