Newsroom / CNA
The European Commission has launched the process for a vote in the Quality Committee on March 26 on the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) of the Halloumi/Hellim file, an EC spokesperson told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) on Tuesday.
Miriam Garcia Ferre told CNA during the daily EC briefing that “Ι can confirm that since 2015 you know we have been examining this issue, including the Cypriot ‘common understanding’ on registering halloumi/hellim as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). In particular, we have analyzed carefully all the objections raised, and the Commission is now in a position to share its proposal with member states and has launched the process for a vote in the Quality Committee on March 26."
The PDO proposal forms a package with a parallel Decision to permit the halloumi/hellim cheese to cross the Cyprus Green Line provided it is produced in full compliance with EU hygiene and safety standards.
"As foreseen in 2015, this will allow halloumi and hellim cheese products to cross the Cyprus green line provided it is produced in full compliance with EU hygiene and safety standards," she said.
A European Commission written statement said that “the Commission will table a Decision to the Member States, through the Standing Committee on March 15-16 , to fix the conditions of movement of halloumi cheese between the two communities or over the green line. Concretely, this would mean that cheese produced, under specific requirements/specifications, in the northern part of the island could be then sold on the EU market."
The years-long headache of securing a PDO for halloumi cheese was on the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell's agenda of discussion with the island's two leaders during his visit to Cyprus earlier this month. Local media reported that the Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar was particularly adamant on seeing the process get a jumpstart, arguing that securing the PDO would consitute a fruitful confidence-building measure between the two sides ahead of the informal meeting on the Cyprus problem to be held in Geneva in late April.