Register to our newsletter Our latest newsletters

EDP MEPs tell us why they chose to fight for Europe

"Languages, cultures, regional differences and local initiatives must be cherished because they are Europe’s strongest asset."

Geographical indications: a source of territorial development

Irene Tolleret
European Parliament

The European Union's system of geographical indications is a great success: the number of food and drink products whose names are protected by the EU as geographical indications (GIs) is 3,207, worth almost €75 billion. They represent 15.5% of total EU agri-food exports.

This quality system protects the names of products originating from specific regions that offer a superior quality by enjoying a reputation linked to the area of production, such as "Comté", "Irish Whiskey", " Parmigiano Reggiano", "Westfälischer Knochenschinken" ham, Port wine, Manchego cheese and many, many others, including of course all PGI/PDO wines!

Geographical indications are not only synonymous with quality products and the protection of ancestral know-how, they are also a source of territorial development because they help to combat the depopulation of rural areas, attract tourists and guarantee farmers a more lucrative income than in non-protected sectors.

Moreover, geographical indications are true ambassadors of European gastronomic culture in third countries, enhancing the reputation of all European agriculture.

A review of the EU GI policy is currently underway. The Commission has presented its draft, which will now be considered by the European Parliament and the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers.

Irène Tolleret, MEP, co-chair of the Wine, Spirits and Quality Products Intergroup and EDP member, will be responsible for negotiating this reform with the other political groups in the European Parliament on behalf of the Renew Europe group.

The group has decided to rely on her technical expertise to improve the protection of our geographical indications. Indeed, before being elected, Irène Tolleret acquired a great deal of knowledge on these subjects, among other things as marketing director of a wine cooperative group in Occitania where she developed value-added programmes improving the remuneration of PDO winegrowers, either through innovation or segmentation, making it possible to improve the overall image of the region's wines, after an initial experience of developing grape varietal wines as PGIs. In addition, since the beginning of her European mandate, she has added to her experience by co-chairing the Wine, Spirits and Quality Products Intergroup in the European Parliament.

"This revision of the indications should enable us to strengthen our quality system, better protect European excellence, improve the reputation of these products, and fight against fraud. In addition, we need to move from a 'think global, sell local' approach to a 'think local, and sell global' approach. A product must be in harmony with the environment in which it is produced and then we can make it shine throughout the world," says Irène Tolleret.