A new battle is looming on the horizon on the subject of protected denominations of origin. This time the target is one of the most famous and imitated Italian wines: Prosecco. In the last few days Croatia has submitted a proposal to the European Commission to register the name “Prosěk”.
Italy’s Prosecco should be safe as, with the revision of the regulations in 2009, the village of Prosecco (in the province of Trieste) was introduced in the Doc area. Therefore, Prosecco is also a proper geographical name. But this time Italy did not stand by and watch. “We cannot tolerate that the protected denomination ‘Prosecco’ becomes the object of imitations and misuses, in particular in the European Union” – wrote the coordinator of the S&D Group at the Agriculture Commission of the EU Parliament, Paolo De Castro, in a letter sent to the EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, after the Croatian authorities started the procedure for the recognition of the traditional mention ‘Prosěk’.
PROSECCO, A LONG-STANDING TRADITION
“Prosěk – explained De Castro – is nothing but the translation into Slovenian of the name ‘Prosecco’, it must be remembered that the EU regulation on the Common Organization of Agricultural Markets establishes that protected designations of origin and Geographical Indications must be protected against any abuse, imitation or evocation, even when the protected name is translated into another language. Not to mention that, at the time of its accession to the EU, Croatia had not asked for the protection of the name Prosěk, aware of the fact that it was in conflict with the protection reserved to our Prosecco.”
Granted that an eventual approval of the request would have to pass the scrutiny of Member States, however, according to the Italian MEP “would send a dangerous message, namely that the protection of PDO and PGI in the EU can be easily circumvented through other schemes, such as traditional terms, and weaken the position of the EU in the framework of trade negotiations with non-EU countries – including those underway with Australia, New Zealand, and Chile – which are already opposed to the full protection of Prosecco” – De Castro said.