On October 6th, the European Parliament adopted MEP Virginie Rozière report on “Possible extension of geographical indication protection of the EU to non-agricultural products”.
The debate on the report held in the European Parliament Plenary showed MEPs general support toward the extension of GI protection for non-agricultural products in the EU.
At the moment, traditional non-agricultural products are not protected at the European level. They only can benefit from different national legal frameworks that are far from being harmonised. As a consequence, producers willing to protect their own traditional product need to register it in each Member State (where applicable) or to renounce to this protection.
Therefore, Ms Rozière claims that extending GI protection is fundamental in order to ensure the quality of EU products. This would promote and protect the European traditional cultural heritage and know-how, so diversified and unique. Equally important, the adoption of a harmonised legal framework for the protection of non-agricultural traditional products hold high potential in term of employment creation in less favoured regions and would increase competitiveness. The debate also highlighted how this common framework could improve SMEs situation and increase regional tourism.
The rapporteur asked the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourova, to take into account the European Parliament’s request for action, representing SMEs and consumers’ views.
The Commissioner recognised the advantages underlined by the report and by the MEPs during the discussion, adding that the extension would also aid bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations currently undertaken by the EU. Nevertheless, she also warned that the introduction of such a common legal framework would require an ever greater far-reaching regulatory intervention and it would need to be assessed carefully.
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