Allegrini 2024

The EU Parliament in plenary session has approved the reform of the PDO and PGI regulations

3.410 PDO and PGI products at the EU level (890 are Italian), and production value of 80 billion euros (20.2 billion euros are Made in Italy)

The role of the Protection Consortiums has become stronger, and several prerogatives have been strengthened; such as extending supply regulation plans from 3 to 6 years and the possibility of drafting value sharing clauses along the supply chain for their members. There is more protection online, through EUIPO, as well as on the label. For instance, it is obligatory to indicate the PGI or PDO ingredient used to prepare the product. Stronger protection to avoid cases such as the “Prosek" case, made in Croatia. Requests to change specifications, for example, to be simplified and faster, which will be examined by the European Commission only if they imply restrictions on competition on the single market, while all other changes are managed exclusively at the National level. More transparency, and the Consortiums, initially on a voluntary basis, will have to draw up a sustainability report that explains what they have implemented in terms of environmental, economic, social sustainability and respect for animal welfare. These are some of the innovations introduced by the new European Union Regulation, which regulates, thanks to a single text, the sectors of wines, spirit drinks and agricultural and agri-food products with Geographical Indication, approved on February 28, 2024 by the EU Parliament in plenary session (520 votes in favor, 19 against and 64 abstentions). Now, the approval from the European Council, which could be as early as the end of March 2024. The reform covers 3.410 PDO and PGI products at the EU level, including food, wine and spirits (890 are Italian), and a production value of 80 billion euros (20.2 billion euros are Made in Italy).
“A further milestone in defense of our excellence was achieved today with the vote in Europe on the approval of the reform of the Geographical Indications system. The objective of the new regulation is to defend certified products from attempts at imitation and emulation. We must continue to focus on the quality and excellence that has always distinguished us and on the uniqueness that makes our agri-food production special, to the point of becoming unique on the global market. It is essential to defend our producers and the Italian system”, the Minister of Agriculture, Francesco Lollobrigida, commented. The goal has been achieved due to the firm commitment of the Italian system, represented by Origin Italia, the Italian Association of Geographical Indications Consortiums, which represents over 95% of Italian GI production. “First of all, we must thank the Government, in the figure of Minister Francesco Lollobrigida, who acted as spokesperson for the requests of the production world we represent, and of course the Reform Rapporteur, the Honorable Paolo De Castro, who has always been close, through Origin Italia, to the primary needs of the sector”, Cesare Baldrighi, president of Origin Italia, commented, “this objective has been achieved thanks to the joint work between the Consortium world and the political world, and to the solid collaboration with other European organizations, especially France, Spain and Portugal. Origin Italia's commitment has been decisive, starting in the early stages to achieve the main objectives that Italy had set itself, namely simplifying managing GIs and strengthening the powers of the individual Protection Consortiums”. “Today’s success is an example of how Europe, when driven by fair political will, is able to guide farmers towards production models that have made our agri-food supply chain unparalleled in the world, in terms of quality and food sustainability. It is also merit of our unique model of protection, management and promoting products with Geographical Indications, synonymous with excellence, uniqueness and connection to the territory”, the rapporteur of the provision, Paolo De Castro, commented.
“The work carried out by Paolo De Castro, the rapporteur for the reform of the PDO and PGI system, together with the collaboration for Italy of the Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, Francesco Lollobrigida, is the result of skillfully and wisely connecting the requests of citizens, institutions, businesses and protection consortiums that have emerged over the years, which is also merit of the cultural and scientific work carried out by the Qualivita Foundation. The new regulation”, Cesare Mazzetti, president of the Qualivita Foundation, stated, “substantially responds to the need to adapt the GI sector to the changed market conditions, environmental and social, promptly highlighted by Qualivita in its annual reports on the system. For instance, the topic of PDO Tourism, food and wine tourism linked to PGI products, strongly promoted by the Foundation to create value in the territories. There is also an underlying theme, which is the meeting carried out at the regulatory level for wines, agri-food products and spirit drinks. Since its foundation, Qualivita has supported the strength of the unity of all sectors under the roof of the Geographical Indications system, and the need to operate identical and coherent promotional and protection policies for each of them. The reform calls for unity of the system also on the associative and representation levels, as numerous Consortiums for the protection of the various sectors had hoped for”. “The reform is a starting point for Italy”, Mauro Rosati, director of the Qualivita Foundation, stated, “useful for starting a new phase of quality policy revision. Over the past few years, thanks to the PDO and PGI supply chains, we have learned that territorial value and certification represent the central point of quality perceived by citizens, and the new regulation is an important testimony. A myriad of criticisms have rained down on Europe over the past few days, some of them unjustified, and I believe this represents a virtuous example of policies in favor of agriculture and local production communities that are asking for more value for their products. Over the years, Qualivita has brought out, through numbers, research and public discussions, innumerable instances that today make up the new consolidated text of Geographical Indications. This is the reason we are satisfied to have contributed to a new vision of food quality”. The reform also pleases the wine Consortium world, at least according to those who represent them at the Institutional level, such as FEDERDOC, which “welcomes the vote of the European Parliament Plenary session of the EU policy reform on Geographical Indications, and invites the Council to approve the reform next March. Thanks to the commitment of the speakers of the European Parliament, the policy on Geographical Indications has been strengthened in light of the “wine package” as well, President Giangiacomo Gallarati Scotti Bonaldi , commented, “which safeguards the specificities of the wine sector. We appreciate that the text contains an initial definition of sustainability for Geographical Indication products - an area in which the wine sector has been actively engaged for years now, achieving important results - the possibility of geo-blocking websites that use GIs improperly, and the central role acknowledged to producer groups built on the Italian model of Protection Consortiums. We thank the European Parliament and the Council again for having recognized the distinguishing features of the GI wine sector, characterized by a quality policy that has specific regulatory instruments. We have always believed that the experience Italy has gained with Protection Consortiums has constituted a model from which to draw. The reform confirms this because it has implemented the role that acknowledged Protection Consortiums play to valorize and protect Geographical Indications. It is now up to the Consortiums to make the best use of the new supply planning tools to confirm they are a driving force for the economy and development of the territories”.
“The consolidated text approved today represents the correct synthesis of a positive, complex path shared by all European Union Countries. Thanks to uniform rules, Italian agri-food has an edge, starting as of now. We have carefully monitored the National decree activity, which will have to transpose and harmonize community rules, aware that the current structure of the Consortiums has proven to be successful, and therefore must not be changed. It is a delicate step the Ministry of Agriculture will be called to take, and on which AFIDOP has guaranteed its immediate availability”, Antonio Auricchio, president of AFIDOP (Association of Italian PDO and PGI Cheeses) added. Coldiretti and Confcooperative were among the first agricultural organizations to express their opinion on the European Parliament’s approval of the reform. “The reform of the European system of Designations of Origin protects Italy’s leadership in the European Union, counting 892 acknowledged products, including food, wines and spirits, generating a value of over 20 billion euros and employing 890 thousand people involved in the supply chains” , Ettore Prandini, president of Coldiretti said. He added, “the fight against fake Made in Italy food, which reaches more than 120 billion euros worldwide, depends on the defense of the system of European Geographical Indications. The fight against imitations helps the growth of a system, which in addition to the economic and employment impact, represents the cultural and environmental heritage of the Country. We have reached this result, thanks to our commitment over the years to collaborate with many Italian MEPs, starting with the speaker, Paolo De Castro”. “Today's European Parliament vote marks an important moment for the development of the Geographical Indications system in the EU. We will finally be able to have a single regulatory reference that will allow Member States to structure the governance of Geographical Indications in a better way, building credible, sustainable paths that make the most of the socio-economic fabric from which quality products originate. European GIs are preparing to become more and more a winning economic model, to be exported all over the world”, Carlo Piccinini, president of Confcooperative Fedagripesca, added, reminding that cooperation represents an average of 70% of the main PDO cheeses production, 52% of PDO wines and 65% of PGI wines, as well as guaranteeing the certified production of a large part of fruit and vegetable products with Geographical Indication.

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