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May 31, 2020

Questioned on the improper use of protected designations of origin, the Commission affirms efforts to seek the protection of geographical indications outside of the European Union.

A parliamentary question denounced the use of the indications ‘Feta white cheese’ and ‘Greek yoghurt’ for products originating from Latvia on a trade fair in Dubai. The name Feta is reserved for the particular sheep cheeses produced in Greece, while Greek yoghurt implies the yoghurt originates from Greece (as opposed to Greek style yoghurt).

The Commission reiterates that enforcement of the applicable regulations is under the responsibility of the Member States. Accordingly, the claims the Latvian exporter should be brought before the appropriate national channels in Latvia. The Commission can only act in case the Member State fails to meet its obligations under EU law (in casu the protection of geographical indication and rules related to the indication of origin). As the alleged violation took place outside of the EU, the Commission points out that national rules apply which generally do not recognize protections provided for under EU law. So the given protects do not enjoy the same protection as they do in the European Union. The Commission does add that strive for the conclusion of bilateral agreements with third countries to foresee protection of geographical indications.  

Parliamentary Question (E-001190/2020) - link

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