From 25 to 27 October, AREPO held its second General Assembly in 2022, the first after the pandemic in one of its member regions.
AREPO members were hosted in the beautiful city of Würzburg by the three German member regions of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Hessen, co-organisers of this plenary meeting.
On 25 October, participants got together for the welcome dinner at Reisers – Restaurant am Stein, a one Michelin star restaurant that offered a first tasting of the great Franconian wines together with a superb view over Würzburg.
The General Assembly took place on October 26th, in the breath-taking venue of the Würzburger Residenz (Würzburg Residence), a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ms Begoña García Bernal, President of AREPO and Regional Minister for Agriculture, Rural Development, Population and Territory of the Extremadura region, warmly welcomed the participants reminding the pivotal role of AREPO member regions in the recognition of the association at EU level and the results achieved all over the first year of Presidency of the Extremadura region.
This was followed by the welcome speeches, via video messages, from the regional Ministers of the German hosting regions: Ms Michaela Kaniber, Bavarian State Minister of Food, Agriculture and Forestry; Mr Oliver Conz, State Secretary at the Hessian Ministry for environment, climate protection, agriculture and consumer protection; and Mr Peter Hauk, Minister of food, rural areas and consumer protection of Baden-Württemberg.
The President of AREPO then took again the floor to present the activity report, resuming all the activities carried out by AREPO throughout the first year of Extremadura Presidency, especially stressing the commitment in the ongoing revision of the EU GI system.
Besides the internal work of the technical group set up to draft the proposals for amendments to the legislative proposal put forward by the European Commission, Ms García Bernal emphasised the role played by AREPO as expert on the opinion of the European Committee of the Region and in the relentless work and discussions with all the Institutional actors involved in the legislative process.
The details of the priorities defended by AREPO and the proposals presented to the MEPs were outlined in the thematic session dedicated to the GI revision. Furthermore, AREPO policy officers updated regions and producers attending the plenary meeting on other key policies monitored at EU level, namely the initiative on the Sustainable Food System Framework, the Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labelling, the revision of the EU Promotion Policy and the state of play of an EU-wide protection system for industrial and craft GIs.
It was also the occasion to provide an update on some of the results delivered by the EU projects in which AREPO is involved as partner, AGROSMARTglobal and MOVING. In addition, AREPO team recalled some important events that will be organised in the framework of the two projects:
- AGROSMARTglobal: AREPO will organise on 30 March 2023, in Brussels, its 5th European event for the promotion of quality and origin products (Save the date!).
- MOVING: AREPO will take part in the European Multi-Actor Platform (EU MAP) webinar on ‘European quality schemes: the added value for mountain value chains’, on November 8th.
The General Assembly ended with a guided tour of the Residenz and a guided tour of the cellar at the Staatlicher Hofkeller Würzburg with a wine tasting.
27 October was dedicated to the technical visits. Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Hessen organised a visit to the Bayerische Landesanstalt für Weinbau und Gartenbau (Bavarian State Research Center for Viticulture and Horticulture – LWG).
Following the welcome by Mr Georg Bätz (LWG), AREPO members spent the day delving into the Franconian concept of wine tourism (Dr. Hermann Kolesch) and the importance of meadow orchards in Southern Germany (Mr Bruno Kriegelstein (Baden-Württemberg) and Dr. Katharina Menger (Hessen)). Additionally, a tasting of wines, juices and spirits from the three German AREPO member regions was organised.
As part of the technical visits, AREPO members took a tour of the Thüngersheimer Scharlachberg vineyards, discovering more about the terroir and local biodiversity. The three-days program ended with a lunch in the vineyards at Terroir f Thüngersheim, tasting the delicious local food served with local white wines.