`EU Olive Oil Promotion Policies 'Unfair' - Olive Oil Times

EU Olive Oil Promotion Policies 'Unfair'

Oct. 19, 2012
Giusy Pascucci

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The fol­low­ing is a reader-sub­mit­ted opin­ion unedited by Olive Oil Times edi­to­r­ial staff. Do you have an opin­ion you’d like to share? See our sub­mis­sion form and guide­lines here.

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”


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