Two-day conference of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece, the Municipality of Pylos and the Region of Peloponnese in Pylos, on Olive oil, the basis of the Mediterranean diet  

Georgios Patoulis: Greek local government, through its participation in European local government forums, making  proposals and contributions, is a significant force within the European family of local government.

The two-day conference of the European Committee of the Regions on Olive oil, the basis of the Mediterranean diet and a valuable ally for health, was held on Thursday 24 and Friday 25 May in Pylos, with the cooperation of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE), the Municipality of Pylos and the Region of Pelopponese (Great Hall, House of Event, Costa Navarino).

The conference, attended by 150 municipal and regional leaders from the 28 EU countries, was opened with statements by KEDE President Georgios Patoulis, the Chair of the CoR's Commission for Natural Resources (NAT) Ossi Martikainen, the Mayor of Pylos-Nestor and KEDE first vice-president Dimitris Kafantaris, the Governor of the Pelopponese Region Petros Tatoulis, the Mayor of Trifylia Panagiotis Katsivelas, and CoR member Nikolaos Chiotakis. The keynote speech was delivered by the Secretary-General of the Ministry for Rural Development and Food, Charalambos Kasimis.

The conference focused on two themes: the challenges and outlook for the olive oil sector, and olive oil as a key component of a healthy and sustainable diet.

The second day was given over to a thematic workshop on olive oil, and there was an on-site visit to a model olive oil production and standardisation unit.

" I am convinced that the local and regional authorities can play an important role in making our diets healthier and more sustainable, be it through promotion and introduction of healthy food in public canteens - in schools and hospitals or by encouraging the setting up of local food markets, to mention just a few examples..." said Ossi Martikainen, Local councillor of Lapinlahti and Chair of the CoR's Commission for Natural Resources (NAT).

In Mr Patoulis' words: "It is significant that this European conference is being held in our country, and in particular in a region - the Pelopponese - whose comparative advantage lies in its internationally recognised olive oil production, a key source of local development.

What is more, the European Committee of the Regions' decision to hold this important conference in our country shows that Greek local government, through its participation in European local government forums, making  proposals and contributions, is a significant force within the European family of local government.

I would also like to emphasise that these two days we offer us an opportunity to exchange views and know-how, feeding into our positions as local government and our claims for the support and development of the olive oil sector and the primary sector more broadly. We all of course recognise that the modernisation of the primary sector is one of the main pillars of the country's economic development. We in local governments are seeking, through our positions and actions, to bring all our efforts and resources to bear in supporting this process."

Contact:
Wioletta Wojewodzka

tel. +32 473 843 986
wioletta.wojewodzka@cor.europa.eu