Author: Miranda García (AEIDL)
The MOVING project held its second EU Multi-Actor Platform webinar on “European Quality Schemes: the added value for mountain value chains” on 8 November 2022. The event gathered around 60 attendees from different backgrounds (research, public authorities, advisors, business, producers, other EU-funded projects , etc.) from more than 15 countries.
This project gathers 23 mountain regions from 16 countries. These are areas where the project will roll-out its research activities and actions engaging relevant stakeholders through European Multi-Actor Platforms (MAPs). These regions represent the wide diversity of mountain areas in Europe and neighbouring countries.
The main objectives of this webinar were:
- Find out more about MOVING project results and the EU MAP;
- Provide an update of the new the European Commission legislative proposal on EU Quality schemes;
- Discuss about the implementation and added value of the EU quality schemes and the implications for mountain value chains;
- Enhance the exchange, learn and interact at the EU level on the application to mountain value chains.
The webinar started with two presentations on the progress made by MOVING and the results achieved during the first two years of the project, as well as its Community of Practice (CoP) and the work of the MAPs’ activities carried out during these years.
Branka Tome, the Deputy Head of Unit responsible for geographical indications (DG AGRI), participated in the webinar to provide a general overview of the new European quality policy and the novelties it will bring for producers. In the eyes of the Commission, this proposal will improve the system and provide better protection for geographical indications (GIs) in order to empower producers. There was also some debate around the “mountain product” label. “Despite being part of the quality schemes legislation, there are no changes proposed in that area because mountain product labels are rather new”, Tome explained.
Giulia Scaglioni and Francesca Alampi, our partners from the Association of European Regions for Products of Origin (AREPO) presented their position and some policy recommendations on the European Commission’s proposal on the revision of the EU Geographical Indications System (GIs). From their point of view, the proposal does not define sustainability, sustainability undertakings nor sustainability standards. They fear that this can lead to a lack of holistic approach, and which has a risk of standardisation by not considering the territorial dimension and specificities. AREPO also pointed out the need for public financial support because most producers are not aware of GI contribution to sustainability or lack the capacities to integrate all sustainability elements into the management of their GI system.
The director of Euromontana, Guillaume Corradino, shared insights on the implementation of the EU optional quality term “mountain product”. Even if it is not used in all Member States, it can bring some benefits to the territory: Enable farmers to market the product better but also ensure certain characteristics are clear to the consumer, prevent fraudulent use of “mountain product” with clear, simple legislation (only criteria is geography), and become an alternative for producers who cannot access other quality schemes.
The event featured other presentations on mountain value chains of four reference regions of the project, which showed the implications of the quality scheme to the different mountain value chains: (i) Serra da Estrela PDO Cheese value chain (Cordilheira Central); (ii) Alto-Molise Dairy value chain (Central Apennines), (iii) Trento PDO Wine value chain (Eastern Alps), and (iv) Sjenica lamb PDO value chain (Dinaric Mountains). The partners also remarked on the next steps to improve the resilience and sustainability of their value chain and their territory.
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