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Greece is ready to veto "Canadian feta"

27 September 2013 / 16:09:47  GRReporter
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"Greece is ready to use all legal means, including a veto, to prevent the import of white brined cheese called 'feta' from Canada into the European Union," Secretary General of the Greek Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Dimitris Melas said yesterday in Thessaloniki.
Commenting on the problem in the negotiations on the establishment of a free trade zone between the European Union and Canada Melas pointed out, "We need to completely distance ourselves from the rhetoric of everyone who is publicly speaking about the possibility of importing iron the European Union feta produced in Canada".

In his speech at a forum organized by the Hellenic Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives and dedicated to the new Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union, Dimitris Melas reassured that it is "naive" for the country to be afraid of such a development. According to him, it is not logical for the European Union which has already provided a product of a member state with a designation sign to allow the competitive advantage of this sign to be lost by flooding the market with the same product produced in a third state. "If the European Union loses feta other products will follow it too," he added.

As stated by the Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, the department is seriously dealing with the issue and it will be finally resolved, probably in November, at a meeting at European level. Furthermore, he pointed out that the Prime Minister of Canada had been informed of the issue by a specific letter.

In response to a question as to why the country of origin is not written on the packaging of milk and milk products, Melas noted, "Certainly it would be preferable for the country of origin to be indicated but this issue depends on a common solution at European level. There is a possibility of negotiating the issue but some suggestions are approved and others are not."

New Common Agricultural Policy: Big changes

At the same time, Dimitris Melas announced that the plan for the new Common Agricultural Policy 2014-2020 is to be subject to a public discussion at the Ministry of Agricultural Development by the end of October, the ambitious goal being for the parties and interested sides to reach a principle political agreement by the end of the first quarter of 2014.

According to Dimitris Melas, it is expected that the new Common Agricultural Policy and the newly introduced regime for payments relating to production will support pulses and livestock and the other sectors will be determined in the near future. When asked about the support for young farmers, the Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture stressed that the new Common Agricultural Policy provides for funding for young farmers (aged up to 40 years) of up to 2% which may eventually reach 1% or 1.5%, depending on the existing interest.

As explained by Chariman of the Hellenic Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives Tsanetos Karamihas, the new Common Agricultural Policy will bring two major changes. Firstly, 50% of the direct aid to farmers will now be paid on the basis of the area under cultivation whereas the remaining 50% will be allocated on the basis of other criteria, the main one being the environmental policy. Secondly, the numerous individual issues that have so far been settled by decision of the authorities of the European Union will now be settled by each country separately.

"If we reach a national agreement, Greece’s agriculture can benefit from the new Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union. We have to decide what agricultural policy we want and what priorities we are to set. Agriculture can provide food supplies for the people and contribute to the development of the Greek economy. However, we must come to an agreement on the objectives we want to achieve by 2028, not just by 2020," added Karamihas.

Tags: FetaCanadaEuropean UnionMinistry of Agricultural DevelopmentCommon Agricultural Policy
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