Commission updates guidelines on the promotion of EU farm products in the European Union and in third countries
The European Commission adopted yesterday a Regulation amending Commission Regulation (EC) No. 501/2008 of 5 June 2008 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 3/2008 on information provision and promotion measures for agricultural products on the internal market and in third countries.
The main changes introduced by the amending Regulation are the following:
- Sheep meat is included in the list of eligible products for promotion in both internal market and in third countries. In the context of the difficult situation in the sheep meat sector and with a view to raising awareness in relation to its production and consumption, the EU may co-finance information and promotion programmes for generic sheep meat of Union origin.
- "Optional quality terms", a new type of quality product along with the PDO/PGI/TSG labels, is also included in the product list, but only eligible for promotion measures on the internal market.
- Generic poultry meat is deleted from the list of products eligible for promotion. It was introduced following the avian influenza crisis, but considering that the period following this has been sufficiently long for restoring consumer confidence, it has now been removed from that list.
Croatia has been deleted from the list of third countries while other third country target markets have been added.
In 2000 the Council decided that the EU could assist in financing measures that provide information on or promote agricultural products and food on the EU single market and in third countries.
The total annual budget available for these promotion programmes is around €55 million.
The measures financed can consist of public relations, promotional or publicity campaigns, in particular highlighting the advantages of EU products, especially in terms of quality, food safety and hygiene, nutrition, labelling, animal welfare or environmentally-friendly production methods.
These measures can also cover participation at events and fairs, information campaigns on the EU system of protected designations of origin (PDO), protected geographical indications (PGI) and traditional specialities guaranteed (TSG), information on EU quality and labelling systems and organic farming, and information campaigns on the EU system of quality wines produced in specified regions (QWPSR)
The EU finances up to 50% of the cost of these measures (up to 60% in programmes promoting the consumption of fruit and vegetables by children or concerning information on responsible drinking and the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption), the reminder being met by the professional/inter-branch organisations which proposed them and in some cases also by the Member States concerned.
For promotion on the single market and in third countries, interested professional organisations can submit their proposals to the Member States twice a year. The Member States then send the list of programmes they have selected to the Commission along with a copy of each programme. Subsequently the Commission evaluates the programmes and decides whether they are eligible.