Greece feta row threatens EU-Canada deal

GMT 19:50 2015 Wednesday ,06 May

Arab Today, arab today Greece feta row threatens EU-Canada deal

A shop assistant lifts a slab of feta cheese in Athens
Brussels - AFP

Greece is pushing for changes to a trade deal between the EU and Canada, saying that the 2013 agreement does not protect its celebrated feta cheese, officials said Wednesday.

Economy minister George Stathakis will discuss the issue with his colleagues at a meeting in Brussels on Thursday, they said.

A Greek source said they could veto the deal which must be approved by leaders of the European Union's 28 member states in October, having been ratified by their parliaments.

"There has been no veto decision yet," the source said.

"We are trying for now to get amendments to the deal so that the text does not become the basis for other treaties" such as a huge EU-US trade deal under discussion.

The dispute involves the level of protection given to feta by the EU, which has made feta a protected EU term.

But under the trade deal Canadian products put on the domestic market before October 2013 when the deal was signed can also be called feta, with the naming restrictions being limited to new products.

"Basically it's zero protection," the source said.

Athens wants all such cheeses that are not from Greece to be called "feta type".

The EU says it will be "very difficult" to reopen discussions.

Feta, a Greek cheese made with goat's milk, is one of Greece's top ten exports with exports to Canada representing 10 percent of that market worth three million euros.


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