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Mountain Products – Euromontana Actions

Track record of Euromontana’s actions during the quality policy reform

Since the European Mountain Convention in Trento, in 2000, Euromontana has carried out an intense effort to achieve the recognition and promotion of the specific characteristics of mountain food products. Using evidence from scientific research (see Projects here) and through a strong advocacy and lobby work towards the European institutions, Euromontana has finally achieved the approval of the optional quality term “Mountain Product”. It has been a long way to attain this reward.

burasThe debate since 2008 has been dominated by the reform of the policy for quality of agri-food products which resulted on the 10th of December in the adoption by the European Commission of legislative proposals known as the “quality package”.

This legislative package is the result of a long consultation which started with the publication of a green paper on the quality of agri-food products, to which Euromontana replied on the 12th of December 2008.

Following repeated demands from Euromontana and other actors in the field for a European scheme for the protection of mountain products, and in the absence of opposition to this proposal in all consultative bodies, DG AGRI of the European Commission announced that it would study the feasibility of an optional term reserved for mountain products and then drafted proposals for such a term. The proposal was unfortunately withdrawn at the last minute based on the argument that the impact assessment still had to be completed.

  • See the press release published following the decision of the Commission to postpone the proposal for a mountain term

We have been heard as both the Committee of the Regions and the European Parliament have included in their respective reports (Opinion of the Committee of the Regions by René Souchon and Report by Iratxe García Pérez for the European Parliament) the request for an optional quality term for mountain products. Work continued through 2011, leading to the adoption on June 20th, 2012 of a political compromise between the Council, the Parliament, and the Commission on a new regulation protecting the use of an optional quality term “mountain product”.

The new regulation was officially voted on by the European Parliament on September 13th, 2012 and was adopted by the Council in November. The regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on November 21st 2012, entitled Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs. This major step forward rewards 12 years of Euromontana work on this issue.

The regulation No 1151/2012 provides the overall legal framework for all quality schemes, whose technical details and partial derogations are further developed by delegated acts or regulations.

Regarding the optional quality term “Mountain Product, the derogations proposed at an early stage implied a serious risk of jeopardising the link between the product and the territory.  Consequently Euromontana carried out an intense lobby strategy together with our members in order to guarantee the quality, origin and credibility of the term “Mountain Product”. Lobby actions included a regular dialogue with the European Commission, including letters and meetings with the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş and his cabinet, the director-general of the DG Agri, as well as the Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier.

The network is already discussing what actions should be conducted to ensure we rip full benefit of this new opportunity.

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