Public consultation on EU-wide protection of geographical indications for non-agricultural products

There is currently no EU-wide system for protecting the geographical indications of non-agricultural products (such as handicrafts and industrial goods). However, such products are often an important part of local identity, attract tourism and create jobs. A uniform system would in particular:

• help producers stay competitive in niche markets
• provide consumers with better information about the authenticity of products
• boost regional economies.

The EU Commission has therefore launched a consultation in order to gather stakeholder views for further development and fine tuning of the initiative.

INSULEUR participated to it by reminding that, in line with its 20 years efforts to ensure sustainability and diversification of EU island's economies, INSULEUR gives its full support to this proposal for regulation of EU-wide protection of geographical indications for non-agricultural products.

Indeed, the endemic fragility of islands which have been further severely hit by the pandemic, led to a significant reduction in their economic activity and Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and a substantial increase in unemployment, making them the ones suffering some of the most severe economic setbacks and therefore revealing even more the continued/growing presence of regional and intraregional inequalities, affecting the economies and the development of insular regions. Therefore, such initiative would not only indeed help boost insular economies and insular producers stay competitive but would also:

• Secure that Europe's traditional knowledge and cultural heritage does not vanish over time due to international competition of (misleadingly) similarly branded products in third non-EU countries
• Secure jobs and empower the youth in particular that tend to leave the islands by giving them the incentive to be part of a potentially flourishing market as well as increased opportunities of professional development.
• Ensure diversification of islands economies by giving them the opportunity to stay productive and competitive beyond the traditional touristic period of the year.

Over the past years, EU islands gained significant recognition and economic benefits from their PGI and PDO agri-food products as well as a prominent place on the international gastronomic scene. INSULEUR strongly believes that Handicraft and industrial goods deserve the same approach.




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