Nicosia, October 29, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Kyriacos Kyriacou
European Commission informed Cyprus about three intentions to file objections on its application to file halloumi as a product with protected designation of origin (PDO), while at least another one is expected by the end of the day.
However halloumi/hellim registration is seen by many countries as a confidence-building measure between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriots, working as deterrent for the support of the objections.
As Minister of Agriculture Nicos Kouyialis told CNA on Thursday, so far three intentions for objections were submitted to the European Commission, one from the United Kingdom and two from private business, mainly Dairy Australia Limited in Australia and the Consortium of Common Food Name in the United States.
They will now have two months to justify their objections and the Commission will decide what is acceptable and what not. The Minister did not rule out other objections by the end of the day, saying that at least one was expected by a company in New Zealand.
The Australian and US company that submitted objections are companies that trade halloumi, while in the UK there are companies that also produce halloumi.
Kouyialis noted that the objection submitted by the United Kingdom was on behalf of private companies located in the country and the country was obliged, as an EU member state, to submit the appeal. However, as he said, the UK`s objection was accompanied by a letter indicating that it recognized that halloumi could be a confidence-building measure to help resolving the Cyprus problem and that the country did not want to create any problems.
He also added that there was a letter from New Zealand, saying that the state did not support the objections, but could not prevent private companies to appeal directly.
Asked whether the Cyprus problem was backing the halloumi application, Kouyialis said that it prevented many countries from supporting the objections.
“I do not think that it adds anything special, I just think that it prevents several countries from supporting appeals from their producers”, he said.
He also said that the Ministry is not especially concerned over the objections, which were expected, and that is ready to tackle them, pointing out that halloumi is a traditional product that is made in Cyprus for hundreds of years.
On July 28 last summer, Cyprus application to register halloumi as a PDO was published in the EU official journal. The file lists the Greek and Turkish names `halloumi` (Halloumi) / `Hellim` which can be used together or separately. This followed a visit to Cyprus by the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who announced a common understanding between President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on the issue.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-led talks, aiming to reunite the island under a federal roof, resumed on May 15, this year.