Halloumi debate to clear up by the afternoon, hopefully

By Thursday afternoon a number of disputes raised regarding Cyprus’ efforts to register Halloumi cheese as a product of designated origin should be resolved, Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis has said.

Kouyialis expressed the hope that in the next six months the issue will have concluded in a positive result for Cyprus.

After being informed by the Commission, Kouyialis said that there is room for three objections, but that the field should be cleared by the afternoon.

“There is a possibility that there will be objections from the United Kingdom, one from Dairy Australia, who trades Halloumi, and from the US organisation Consortium for Common Food names,” the minister said.

He added that there is also a letter from the government of New Zealand, which says that they will not support any objection from any of their producers or traders.

“This is the information we have up until now,” Kouyialis said.

He added that he will have to wait until the afternoon, where the committee of course is obliged to inform if there are other objections. Kouyialis said, “From there on, the companies or governments that have submitted an objection are required to, in two months, indicate there objections, so that the Committee can examine as to how much their objections are acceptable or not.”

Kouyialis went on to characterise the objection of the UK as lax, since the country knows how much Halloumi could be a confidence-building measure between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. He added that the case for the cheese would add to settling the Cyprus problem. As such Kouyialis said that the UK cannot do anything except for promote the objections of their producers.

He added that as the Republic of Cyprus they expected these objections, but that they are ready to take on whatever objection is brought so that in six months they will have cleared the subject in favour of Cyprus.

He said that there will be no agreement with anyone, as the documentation on this product is clear, and it is well-evidenced that this is a traditional Cypriot product. Kouyialis said he thinks that there is not a possibility of agreement with any country.

Asked about the British position that Halloumi is a Middle Eastern product, he said that there hasn’t been any such official statement from the UK.

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