By Giusy Pascucci
Consortium of Guarantee of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Quality | Rome
“Europe clamours for countries to play as a team but rows in the opposite direction, supporting certain countries at the expense of others, in consequence of a lack of coordination of its promotion policies.”
This was the statement made by CEQ, the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Consortium, during the press conference on “European promotion: unfair competition?” held in Rome.
CEQ has exhibited unequivocal proof which show how Europe is encouraging competition distortion against all principles laid down by the Rome Treaty.
CEQ has given evidence of its own verifications within its promotion activities in India, China and Russia where, thanks to EU financial support, various identical promotion campaigns, with different constraints, are taking place.
Italy, which applies rules established by DG Agriculture, is widely authorized to promote European extra virgin olive oils, while Spain, which applies rules established by DG Regional, is authorized to solely promote Spanish products. The result is that Spanish promotion campaigns have advantages over Italian campaign because of the multiplier effect and all this is made at Italy’s detriment.
“Defacto, producers’ money and Italian taxpayers are supporting the Spanish campaigns in India, China and Russia,” declares Mr. Fiorillo, CEQ President. “It’s a paradox, but it’s exactly the tangible consequence of a lack of coordination between the two EU Directions. We are not interested in charging or blaming someone. We are simply interested in justice done and we know that Italian Minister of Agriculture, Mario Catania, is struggling a good fight in Brussels to redress the damages done to Italian producers because of Union policies.”
During the meeting, Mr. Mauro Meloni, CEQ Director, displayed slides containing images of the Spanish campaign in India, China and Russia where, through community funds, Spain is trying to divert consumers’ purchase from Italian to Spanish brands.
“More than six months ago CEQ brought to Brussels and Italian authorities attention the competition troubles due to the concomitant realization of two promotional programs. Even with AGEA and Italian Ministry of Agriculture support, the EU bureaux haven’t settled the question” declared Mr. Meloni. “The case of the Spanish campaign ‘Olive oil from Spain’ financially supported by EU, is just an example but might be repeated for other products and in other European countries, more and more interested in advantages offered by FESR funds.”
“The Italian Ministry has claimed the suspension of the ongoing programs in order to minimize the damages to Italian producers and citizens, compelled to support a program which is counterproductive for Italian economy,” declares Mr. Fiorillo. We wouldn’t like Agriculture DG officers, unaware of what Regio DG officers were doing, are too busy to reciprocally fight as regards their competencies, forgetting the taxpayers’ problems.”
“We rely on the political sensitivity of Mr. Cioloş to whom the paradox cannot pass unnoticed. Two European conflicting rules cannot exist because they would originate rifts within the European producers, rift that would deteriorate the common European sentiment”
This article was last updated October 19, 2012 - 12:30 PM (GMT-4)