(08 October 2015) – A majority of MEPs has asked the Commission to extend the European system of geographical indications to artisanal products. This protection currently only exists for food products.
While food products are covered by the European GI system, regional artisanal products do not benefit from the same protection. As a result, any artisan that wants to have their products protected has to go through the process in each individual member state. And only 15 of the 28 EU countries have legislation to protect products of a particular geographical origin.
Věra Jourová, the European Commissioner for Consumers, said such a system would be “a big step forward” for a sector that employs “four million people, directly and indirectly”. But she added that the issue should be “closely examined” to see whether the benefits outweigh the costs, considering the extra regulatory burden it would imply.
GI covered products can create added value for local communities and encourage rural development. The Commission estimated that the sales value of EU GIs amounted to €54.3 billion in 2011. They amounted to some €11.5 billion of EU export sales in the same year, or about 15% of food and drink exports. (EurActiv)