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European lawmakers take up regions' and cities' call for new rules protecting industrial and craft products at EU level  
​​​Local and regional leaders welcome the European Commission proposal and call on co-legislators to ensure regional economies can benefit soon from the new system

Local industrial and craft products must be effectively promoted and protected against counterfeiting to prevent the current legal uncertainty resulting from the fragmentation of legal systems in all individual EU Member States. To this purpose, EU regions and cities demand clearer and more coordinated rules, including the introduction of a common register of geographical indications facilitating access to information for consumers, producers, as well as for national and local governments. This is the key message of the opinion led by Martine Pinville, Regional Councillor of Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region, unanimously adopted on Tuesday, 11 October by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR).

European craftsmanship can be found in great diversity in cities, provinces and regions across the EU. Whether Solingen cutlery from Germany, Bohemian crystal glass from the Czech Republic, Limoges porcelain from France or Murano glass from Italy, they are all emblems of centuries-old craft traditions and part of Europe's cultural heritage.

After the European Commission took up the propositions from the CoR opinion on the same topic one year ago, this revised opinion on the legislative proposal supports the Commission in establishing an EU system for the protection of geographical indications for these products and involve the regions where artisanal and industrial producers operate in this process. In this way, regions could benefit from the protection of typical products and would be able to better retain and attract skilled workers, preserve their cultural heritage and create new opportunities for the tourism industry. The revised opinion welcomes the Commission's approach , which took on board the CoR proposals included in the revised opinion adopted in October 2021.

The rapporteur Martine Pinville (FR/PES), Member of the Regional Council of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, said: " Murano glass, porcelain from Limoges and Solingen cutlery deserve the same protection as Parma ham, feta and champagne. We are glad that the European Commission has responded to the European Committee of the Regions’ call for such legal protection for our craft and industrial products and recall the importance of ensuring the same level of protection, transparency, security and trust for consumers whatever the nature of the GI! "

Members also suggested that the EU introduce measures to support certification, help skilled labour, and inform and promote industrial and craft products with geographical indications.

In particular, the revised opinion calls for a common register that would facilitate access to information for consumers, producers and local and regional authorities, putting emphasis especially on the specificity and diversity of the products and economic ecosystems. The opinion also recommended that the proposed definition of 'artisanal products' be widened. The Commission's definition does not reflect practice in some Member States, the CoR said. The definition should be revised to encompass production processes used in the EU, whether fully manual, mechanical or mixed. Innovation and research of these products should not be hindered by product specifications or by the restrictive interpretation of the terms "tradition" and "traditional".

Background:

On 13 April 2022, the Commission proposed a first-ever framework to protect the intellectual property for craft and industrial products based on the originality and authenticity of traditional practices from their regions after the CoR called on the European Commission in an own-initiative opinion in October 2021 to draw up a proposal for a legal basis to protect industrial and craft geographical indications in the European Union. Producers have so far lacked EU labelling protection linking the origin and reputation of their products to their quality while similar provisions for agricultural products already exist. With this proposal, the Commission aims to enable producers to protect artisanal and industrial products linked to their region and traditional know-how, which will have an impact in Europe and beyond.

Contact:

Theresa Sostmann

Tel. +32 475999415

Theresa.Sostmann@cor.europa.eu


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