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Push to protect more local products

MAJOLICA from Modra, golden onyx from Levice, lace from Soľná Baňa or Piešťany mud could be included among products with protected geographical indication.

Slovak majolica(Source: Courtesy of Slovenská ľudová majolika)

This stems from a non-legislative resolution passed on October 6 by the European Parliament.

MEPs call for enhancing the protection, which currently includes only agricultural products, to more local products. This step should support local products and local economies, tourism and consumer trust, in addition to the protection of cultural heritage and traditional know-how, the EP representation in Slovakia informed.

“I welcome the wide parliamentary support for the call for better protection of local know-how,” MEP rapporteur Virginie Rozière said. “Now, it is up to the European Commission to develop this idea and I hope that soon – within the strategy of internal market, such a [legislative] proposal will come.” The resolution was approved by the EP with 608 votes for, 43 against and 43 abstaining from the vote.

Previously, the proposal had been approved by the MEPs of the Committee for Legal Issues of the EP (JURI), press attaché of the EP office in Slovakia, Soňa Mellak, informed the SITA newswire.

The EP has identified, according to Mellak, more than 800 products that a new list could help; in Slovakia, this could concern golden onyx from Levice, lace from Soľná Baňa, Majolica from Modra, Slovak magnesite and Piešťany mud. In the European Union, more than 3,000 geographical indications have been registered: for wine, alcohol or foodstuffs.

The EU-wide system of protection for geographical indications could have, as part of efforts to preserve cultural heritage and traditional know-how, a huge economic potential which mainly small and medium-sized businesses and individual regions could benefit from, according to MEPs. These products could also receive the same protection beyond EU borders, within negotiations on bilateral and multilateral trade deals of the EU with third countries. The system would offer consumers reliable information about product origins and production processes used, while removing misunderstandings caused by tricky names or descriptions, thus further enabling a better informed decision. The fight against forging and fraudulent use of geographical origin names could be also made more effective.

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