EU Ag Commissioner in Greece; allays criticism over lack of PDO protection for specific Greek products
Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan arrived in Greece this week, amid heightened concerns by local producers over the loss of feta cheese’s status as a Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) product under the CETA agreement between Canada and the EU.
Similar concerns are rampant among dairy producers over the fate of Greece’s renowned strained yogurt brands.
Hogan on Thursday toured a cheese production unit in the northwest Grevena district accompanied by Greek Agriculture Minister Vangelis Apostolou.
While in the region, the EU Commissioner nevertheless said there was “progress” in the international presence of both Greek products — cheeses and yogurt — while promising to “do more”.
In a bid to allay heightened criticism by Greek producers, Hogan added that more EU money will be used to promote feta — which enjoys a PDO distinction in the EU — internationally.
Looking to the near future, he said 19 billion euros in Community funding is budgeted for support of the Greek farm and stock-breeding sector over the next seven years.
Speaking in Thessaloniki on Friday, in fact, during an Economist conference, Hogan said the Commission continues to offer more protection than ever over the Greek feta brand name, “something we expected to be acknowledged.”
He also reminded that in 1981, when Greece joined the then EEC, there was no PDO protection for feta cheese or any other eponymous Greek product, something achieved with the Community’s support and efforts.
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