On April 20th, the Committee on Agriculture & Rural Development (COMAGRI) of the European Parliament (EP) adopted unanimously, with 46 votes in favour, its position on the revision of the system governing Geographical Indications (GIs).
AGRI MEPs agreed on a set of compromises in favour of the creation of a single regulation covering agricultural products and foodstuffs, wines and spirit drinks, with some specific provisions on wine remaining in the CMO regulation.
The approved report strengthens the role of producer groups, introducing more powers and responsibilities for recognised producer groups. Member States will have to define certain provisions, such as those concerning compulsory contributions for all operators, even if they are not members of the group.
GIs protection has been improved, especially online and on domain names and when GIs are used as ingredients. In the latter, the authorisation of producer groups will be needed to use the registered name in processed products.
On sustainability, MEPs approved the introduction of a sustainability report, accompanying GI product specification and published on an EU portal, where producers will explain their commitment towards economic, environmental and social sustainability.
To remove red tape and speed up procedures for registration and amendments, De Castro’s report reduced the timeframe for the Commission’s scrutiny to five months instead of six, which could be extended by a further three months only in duly justified cases. Furthermore, most requests for amendments to products specifications will be managed at national level, thus reducing Commission workload.
As a result, AGRI MEPs reaffirmed the central role of DG Agri in the management of the GI system, rather recognising the contribution of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) on technical issues and assisting with tasks concerning the online protection of GIs and establishing an alert system monitoring the registration of domain names.
As anticipated by MEP De Castro, rapporteur on GI revision, in his speech during the 5th edition of the AREPO European event on Quality and Origin Products, this report will be voted in the mini plenary session that will be held in Brussels on 31 May/1 June, with the beginning of the trilogues already on 7 June, under the Swedish rotating Presidency of the Council, in order to be able to approve the final text under the Spanish Presidency by the end of 2023. More information available here: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20230414IPR80104/new-rules-for-eu-geographical-indications-to-protect-products-and-producers