Brussels News

European Commission Daily News 1st Ma

EU-China agreement protecting geographical indications enters into force

Today, the EU-China bilateral agreement protecting geographical indications (GIs) in China and the EU entered into force. The agreement protects around 200 iconic European and Chinese agri-food names against imitation and usurpation, bringing mutual trade benefits and introducing consumers to guaranteed, authentic products from two regions with rich culinary and cultural traditions. The EU list of GIs to be protected in China includes products such as Cava, Champagne, Feta, Irish whiskey, Münchener Bier, Ouzo, Polska Wódka, Porto, Prosciutto di Parma and Queso Manchego. Among the Chinese GI products, the list includes Pixian Dou Ban (Pixian Bean Paste), Anji Bai Cha (Anji White Tea), Panjin Da Mi (Panjin rice) and Anqiu Da Jiang (Anqiu Ginger). In the course of the next four years as of today, the agreement will expand to cover an additional 175 GI names from both sides. These names will follow the same approval procedure as the names already covered by the agreement (i.e. assessment and publication for comments). The Chinese market has high-growth potential for European food and drinks. In 2020, China was the third destination for EU agri-food products, reaching €16.3 billion up to November. It is also the second destination of EU exports of GI products, accounting for 9% by value, including wines, agri-food products and spirit drinks. Chinese consumers appreciate the safety, quality and authenticity of European agrifood. European consumers will be able to discover genuine Chinese specialties thanks to this agreement. More information on the agreement is available here, in this press release and in this factsheet. The Chinese GIs are entered in eAmbrosia – the EU geographical indications register, under this agreement. For the EU GIs, protection in China is shown on their respective pages in GIview which also contains all GIs protected at EU level. 

State aid: Commission approves €110 million Czech scheme to support enterprises active in the primary agricultural sector and food production affected by the coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a CZK 3 billion (approximately €110 million) Czech scheme to support enterprises active in the primary agricultural sector and food production affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The public support, which will take the form of direct grants, will be open to all enterprises active in the primary agricultural production sector (farmers) and to food producers. The aid is specifically intended to ensure sufficient working capital for beneficiaries that suffered a decrease in total earnings of at least 25% compared to the corresponding reference period in December 2019 – February 2020. The purpose of the scheme is to help the beneficiaries address their liquidity needs and continue their activities during and after the outbreak. The measure is expected to benefit between 5,000 and 10,000 beneficiaries. The Commission found that the Czech scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular (i) the aid will not exceed €225,000 per company active in the primary production of agricultural sector or €1.8 billion per company active in food production; and (ii) the aid under the scheme can be granted until 31 December 2021. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.62044 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. 

European Green Deal: Commission discusses green policies with Norwegian Government

Today, Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Commissioner Kadri Simson and Commissioner Adina Vălean hold a virtual meeting with Ine Eriksen Søreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sveinung Rotevatn, Minister of Climate and Environment, Tina Bru, Minister of Petroleum and Energy, and Knut Arild Hareide Minister of Transport of Norway to discuss different aspects of the European Green Deal. Norway is an important partner for the EU and shares our ambition to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Today’s meeting focuses on the actions needed to translate our targets into concrete actions across the board, from climate action and biodiversity protection, to the energy and transport transitions. The Commission aims at accelerating the transition to a climate neutral economy, fostering sustainable growth and creating green jobs. The Green Deal is the EU’s new growth strategy and the foundation of our economic recovery from the current crisis. With 30% of the NextGenerationEU fund and the EU’s seven-year budget dedicated to climate action, the EU has more financial fire power dedicated to the green transition than ever before. Norway is at the forefront of green technology developments, and strengthened cooperation around the Green Deal will be beneficial for the EU, Norway and the planet. 

 Read the European Commission Daily News in full here.