EUROPEAN COMMISSION - Page 2

The late protection of "Feta" in its country of origin coupled with the lack of historic care taken by interested parties to protect such designation in third countries, enabled natural or legal persons in Canada and South Africa to produce and/or market for decades a non- originating cheese under such designation "Feta" that incidentally does not refer to a geographical place, and which gradually acquired in these two countries a quasi-generic character. Pursuant to international rules, in particular Article 24.4 of the TRIPS agreement, the grandfathering of such prior uses may not be discarded. Yet, the agreements concluded with Canada and SADC EPA States paved the way for a significantly fairer competition. The alternative would have been to maintain the status quo, meaning no specific protection at all for "Feta". In the agreements with Canada and South Africa, Feta is accordingly protected and recognised as a Greek GI, thus definitively preventing it from becoming generic; the agreement imposes further labelling restrictions and requirements on the non-originating product (i.e. an obligation to refer to the actual country of origin and to the milk composition, a prohibition to use Greek flags, images and any other devices invoking the Greek terroir; the addition of the term "style" or "type"…), which allow henceforth the consumer to easily distinguish the genuine product, contrary to the situation prevailing prior to this agreement. The difference of treatment you invoke as compared to the full protection of other EU PDOs is due to the fact that in Canada and South Africa, there was no identified prior use nor any related genericness claims made in respect of them. As regards Canada, there were four other EU GI, also cheeses, in the very same situation than Feta and which, accordingly, will enjoy the same level of protection in Canada that Feta will. Commitment to enhance protection of Feta: you consider that the Commission has not formally committed to seek a future improvement of the protected status of "Feta" in South Africa and in Canada. The Commission has repeatedly committed to use the appropriate mechanisms contemplated in these agreements with a view to further increase the level of protection granted to the name "Feta"; such commitment has been made inter alia in official declarations of the Commission, as well as in replies of Commissioner Hogan, on behalf of the Commission, to parliamentary written questions P-004696/2016 and P-004719/20162. In this respect, a key element that would facilitate such enhanced protection is the education of non-EU consumers about the origin and quality of the PDO "Feta", allowing the consumers of our negotiating partners to fully grasp the unique specificities of the authentic product; thus, the Commission indicated in its aforementioned declarations that it will offer its continuous support to Member States, producers and exporters of geographical indications in order to promote their geographical indica Ñ¥½¹Ì쁥¸Ñ¡¥Ì½¹¹•Ñ¥½¸°…¸•áѕ¹Í¥Ù”‘•‘¥…Ñ•)ݽɭ͡½À¡…́…±É•…‘䁉••¸¡•±½¸€Äā)Õ±ä€ÈÀÄ؁¥¸Ñ¡•¹Ì¸)$¡½Á”Ñ¡”•áÁ±…¹…Ñ¥½¹Ì…‰½Ù”¡…Ù”Áɽٕ¸¡•±Á™Õ°¸)e½ÕÉ́ͥ¹•É•±ä°))½¡¸¸ 1I-(È)±•Ñɽ¹¥…±±äÍ¥¹•½¸€ÈȼÀÔ¼ÈÀÄ܀ÀàèÔĀ¡UQ ¬ÀȤ¥¸…½É‘…¹”Ý¥Ñ …ÉÑ¥±”€Ð¸È€¡Y…±¥‘¥Ñ䁽˜•±•Ñɽ¹¥Œ‘½Õµ•¹Ñ̤½˜ ½µµ¥ÍÍ¥½¸•¥Í¥½¸€ÈÀÀмÔØÌ