Issues over Hellim cheese not Barth’s concern

UN Secretary-General Espen Barth Eide has taken the issue of shared rights in protecting the name of origin for Hellim/Halloumi cheese to Brussels. In response South Cyprus spokesman Nikos Christodoulides has said that his government was closely following the issue in collaboration with Brussels and the competent Cypriot authorities, ‘Famagusta Gazette’ reports.

He said that:

“We are aware that Mr Eide had discussed the issue, among others, during his contacts in Brussels and we are also aware of the fact that the Turkish Cypriots have for some time now made repeated demarches expressing unjustified and untimely concerns. We have done all that is necessary, making clear to everyone that the application for the registration of a name of origin is the right of all EU member states.

The government of Cyprus has also mentioned to both Brussels and the United Nations that this issue does not fall within the responsibilities and the mandate of Mr Eide.

By exercising its right, the Cyprus Government has strictly followed the required procedure, and all interested Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, had the opportunity to submit objections when we were still at the stage of domestic consultation.

We asked for the name ‘halloumi’ and ‘hellim’ to be registered with all of Cyprus as the place of production.

The goal is to build on the historic unifying nature of halloumi, which constitutes a common tradition and historic reality for Cyprus.

Therefore, at this time, when the European Commission is called on to evaluate the file submitted by the Republic of Cyprus, on the basis of technical and very specific criteria, for the benefit of all its citizens, we must all join forces together, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, in order to protect our product from foreign imitators. This is the goal and this is where we must concentrate on right now.”

In July this year, South Cyprus filed to the European Commission an application to grant halloumi/hellim a certificate of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), paving the way for the commercial protection of the Cypriot traditional cheese.

According to reports in the Greek Cypriot press, Turkey has called for a mechanism to be established which will control the necessary criteria needed in the production of Hellim cheese in the TRNC; they have also asked that Turkish Cypriot worries are taken into consideration as well. It is believed Turkey asked for help from the EU Turkish Cypriot Support Group.

Barth was then was asked by the head of the Turkish Cypriot Support Group Michaela Di Bucci, took convey their concerns to Brussels.

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