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In the third quarter of this year, we will compete for three products – Arilje raspberry, Fruska Gora linden honey and Pirot cheese, and in the future, the candidates are Futoski cabbage, Srem kulen and Leskovac ajvar.

Even in the years of the pandemic, the countries of the European Union did not stop working on the registration of products with geographical origin in the common European database. This is another indicator that food with a special label brings higher profits to producers but also to these countries.

In 2020 alone, more than 30 products with a geographical origin were entered in a special EU register, of which Croatia managed to get the stamp of as many as four local products, and the last one is a mining rake – an autochthonous salty cake. Italy received a geographical indication for 11 products, and Greece and Cyprus were quite active in this business.

As Politika was told in the Ministry of Agriculture, Serbia, which has not registered any product at the union level so far, will apply for three products in the third quarter of this year, soon after the adoption of the law on quality schemes for agricultural and food products.

– The draft of that law has been completed and is fully harmonized with EU regulations. In accordance with the government’s program, it should be presented to the deputies in the third quarter of this year – Branislav Raketic, the head of the group for quality, declaring and labeling of food in the Ministry of Agriculture, told our paper. He reminded that Serbia has already completed three specifications for – Arilje raspberry, Fruska Gora linden honey and Pirot cheese. In the meantime, there were informal consultations with the European Commission and there were no objections. He expects that six to eight months will pass from the moment of applying until the entry of those products in the “Official Gazette” of the EU.

Raketic added that the first three products that Serbia will nominate would pave the way for others such as Srem kulen, Futoski cabbage, Leskovac ajvar and others that have a good chance to register a geographical indication in the EU as well.

– The dairy sector is especially interesting. For example, cheeses from Sjenica or Homolje that can certainly give added value. The essence is that producers primarily benefit from protection. But also to have those products on the market, to promote them as much as possible and in that way a larger number of them enter the system of protection of origin – our interlocutor emphasized.
According to an analysis by the Center for European Policies (CEP), a number of economic indicators suggest that registering quality symbols such as protected designations of origin, geographical indications and guaranteed traditional specialties usually lead to increased producers’ ability to compete in the market.

However, it is known that there can be a lot of uncertainty for manufacturers who are waiting for the outcome of registration. The most difficult phase at the European level, as it is stated, is the last or so-called period of opposition that lasts up to five months (three plus two if necessary) when other countries are allowed to express disagreement with the registration of a specific product. If such objections are well-founded and no compromise can be found, the request will be rejected.

Raketic does not believe that Serbia can have a problem with the registration of these first three products at the EU level.

– The rules are like that, but I don’t think anyone will claim the right because these are typically Serbian products. We do not expect to have objections from EU member states – said Raketic and added that eventually problems could arise for geographical areas that are shared with other countries, such as Stara Planina or part of Srem. This does not have to be a position for separation because there is an institution in EU law where, through interstate projects, some products can be jointly protected.

– But, about that later, when we get to that, we will see what is the best thing to do. We will certainly be in communication with the neighboring countries in terms of possible objections that we could have later in some of the procedures – Branislav Raketic emphasized, Politika reports.

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