Revision of the EU geographical indications (GIs) systems

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EESC opinion: Revision of the EU geographical indications (GIs) systems

Key points

 

The EESC:

  • welcomes the Commission's initiative to put forward a proposal for a new regulation that would strengthen the current system for geographical indications (GIs) for agricultural products, spirit drinks and wines. The contribution of GIs to the development of rural areas and the preservation of their community, landscape and cultural heritage is essential and deserves the best and most efficient system possible. This work linked to specific regions, their "savoir-faire", terroir, and culture existed well before an EU legal basis was created for it. It is essential to preserve this system and guarantee the highest protection possible for it.
  • believes that GIs constitute a very particular system that is much more than an intellectual property right and should not be managed as a trademark. For this reason, the EESC calls on the EU institutions to carefully evaluate the need and added value of delegating GI management tasks from DG AGRI to an external agency. It would also be important to assess whether the designated agency possesses the expertise and necessary knowledge to manage the delegated tasks proficiently. DG AGRI should remain the main actor in charge of GI management.
  • considers that any delegation of competences should be strictly detailed in the main body of the regulation and should be limited to administrative tasks. Any decision regarding the application, amendments, cancellation or opposition of GIs should remain strictly in the hands of DG AGRI.
  • calls on the co-legislators to include in the regulation measures to promote the GI system among producers, especially in regions underrepresented in the GI scheme.