Latest news: conference on Geographical Indications in the European Parliament in Brussels

Conference webpage.

The topic is moving towards the next step: a conference titled „Non-agricultural Geographical Indications (GIs): enhancing and protecting EU know-how“ will be held in the European Parliament in Brussels on October 1st, 2015 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Member of the Parliament Virginie Rozière will bring together experts from all over Europe to create a strong movement before the topic will be voted by the Parliament and this vote will be presented to the European Commission.

Initiators of the conference are also parliament members Ms Soledad Cabezón and Mr Nicola Danti together with Junta de Andalucía and the global alliance of Geographical Indications groups (oriGIn).

Geographical Indications protect the names of certain products on the market: e.g. Champagne, Parma ham, and Bordeaux wine may only bear this title if they really come from the region mentioned in the name. Such protection has proved very effective for the promotion of these brands. Until now, on the European level, GIs have only been issued for food.

In 2014, the European Commission has raised the question if such protection would make sense also for non-agricultural goods. The idea behind this initiative is to strengthen old European traditions by giving them a customers’ demand on the market. This would also protect the know-how created over centuries in certain regions of Europe.

The first step by the commission was a so called Green Paper: organizations and private people had been invited to enter their comments to the topic.

In a conference in January 2015 these contributions had been discussed by representatives of the member states of the EU.

Member of Parliament Virginie Rozière was the rapporteur for the issue which means that she was the one to summarize all these steps.

The next steps will be:
* in October 2015 the European Parliament will give a vote on the Rozière report,
* in 2016 or 2017 the Commission will start a legislative initiative to come to a practical discussion how such non-agricultural GIs might look like.
Insiders say that responsible commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska seems to be not opposed to the idea of non-agricultural GIs. Yet the conference is meant to give a strong and positive signal from the European Parliament.

Conference program, October 1st, 2015 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

People interested can confirm their participation by email by the 25th of September, specifying their family name, first name, date of birth, nationality, type of ID card and number of ID card to get access to the Parliament building.

From September 28 to October 02, a photo exhibition of EU non-agricultural GIs will take place at the European Parliament, ASP – Cafeteria Area – 0G.

As announced in the British Natural Stone Specialist a conference about the topic took place in Bournemouth on September 11th.

Translation: pebe

(14.09.2015, USA: 09.14.2015)