Halloumi registrations pending, says Kouyialis
The Cyprus government has not yet been officially informed whether there are any objections to the registration of halloumi/hellim cheese as a PDO product (Protected Designation of Origin), said Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis.
However, the Minister said he has been unofficially informed that the countries which had expressed the intention to object Cyprus’ application have proceeded with their filing. Any possible objections filed would be examined by the EU Directorate General of Agriculture.
If and when objections are accepted by the Department of Agriculture in Brussels, Cypriot authorities, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Legal Service, will have to answer arguing against these objections, Kouyialis told the Cyprus News Agency.
Asked if there is a request of the Turkish Cypriot side to cooperate with the Republic of Cyprus on the amendment of the Green Line Regulation for halloumi and the elimination of animal diseases, Kouyialis said that he has no such a document.
“However, if the Turkish Cypriots are to produce and trade halloumi an amendment of the Green Line Regulation is required,” he said.
He also noted that an agreement was reached during Commission President Jean Claude Junker’s visit last year between Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Moustafa Akinci providing that inspection and certification will be made by the International Bureau of Testing, Inspection and Certification “Veritas”, and this amendment at some point should be made.
As regards the elimination of animal diseases, Kouyialis said that the Turkish Cypriots have to work hard towards that direction and certainly the EU’s assistance will be required, while it is possible that the Cypriot government’s help might be needed.
He explained that a technical committee of veterinarians has already been set up under UN supervision, which has been holding regular meetings for many years to deal with any animal diseases.
Kouyialis overruled a possible joint decision by the Cypriot government, the EU and the illegal regime in Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus on the matter.
“Such an issue does not exist. The Republic of Cyprus and the so called state will not co-decide under any circumstances,” he said, stressing that the only competent authority is the Republic of Cyprus.
In relation to the amendments submitted by the Republic of Cyprus on the Brussels proposals for registering halloumi/hellim as PDO product, Kouyialis said that Nicosia has submitted four amendments and some of them are under discussion. There are some objections, but the discussions will continue until a final solution between the EU and Cyprus, is achieved.
On July 17, 2014, the Commission received the official application for the registration of the names Halloumi/Hellim as a PDO for a cheese made predominantly from ewes’ and/or goat milk under the Quality Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012. The application covers producers from the whole island and foresees the protection of the name in the two languages, Greek and Turkish.
On July 28 2014, the Cyprus application to register halloumi as a PDO was published in the EU official journal. This followed a visit to Cyprus by Commission President Juncker, who announced a common understanding between Anastasiades and Akinci on the issue.
The Green Line Regulation concerns the movement of goods and persons across the Green Line in Cyprus, and has been in force since the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU in 2004.