European Audit Of GIs Shows Need For Clear Rules, Awareness

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The European Court of Auditors yesterday issued a performance audit on European Commission management of the European geographical indications (GI) scheme, which covers products with an estimated value of €15 billion annually. The auditors found room for improvement in clarifying the rules and a need for greater awareness of GIs.

The EU geographical indications system aims to protect product names which are registered as Protected Designation of Origin or Protected Geographical Indication.

The private-sector Organization for an International Geographical Indications Network (oriGIn) announced the results of the audit, and posted it here, along with its own comments submitted to the audit.

The audit concluded that “overall, clarification is needed on a number of issues concerning the control system for the GI scheme and there is no clear strategy for promoting and raising awareness of the scheme amongst both producers and consumers,” according to the ECA press release.

The ECA made a series of recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the GI scheme, it said in the release. “The Commission should set out minimum requirements concerning checks on product specifications and lay down clear rules for a control system that provides for regular checks to detect and suppress disallowed practices. The Commission should also develop a strategy for raising awareness of the GI scheme among potential applicants and consumers and for exploring more effective means of promoting the GI scheme to them.”

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