Midday Express, 9 January 2009
On 15 October 2008, The European Commission launched a consultation on agricultural product quality (see IP/08/1503). At the close of the consultation period on 31 December 2008, more than 500 written responses had been received from a broad range of stakeholders: from farmers, retailers, European interest group representatives, local authorities, consumers, environmental NGOs, and many others. Contributions reflect a wide range of views on, among other matters, the pros and cons of obligatory labelling of the place of farming on foodstuffs, the future of geographical indications, and development of private-sector food quality certification schemes. Contributions have been sent from all 27 EU Member States as well as from some countries outside the EU.
Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development said "I am delighted by the extent of the stakeholder response. The development of agricultural quality policy is a priority for the Commission in 2009 and this gives a great boost to our work. I am looking forward to hearing the detail of the replies and I intend to bring forward a major policy initiative on quality policy in May 2009."
The Commission services have started analysing the contributions received and will upload all contributions to the DG AGRI website http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/policy/opinions_en.htm in the coming weeks. A summary of responses will be prepared and published; this is planned to be available before the Czech Presidency conference on quality policy to be held in Prague on 12-13 March 2009. This will set the scene for a major strategy paper, the Communication on agricultural product quality policy, planned for adoption by the Commission in May 2009.