Proposed regulations for the trading of Hellim/Halloumi cheese will not safeguard Turkish Cypriot producers, pressure group ‘Embargoed!’ has said.
The group says that the appointment of maritime specialists Bureau Veritas to inspect the quality of the cheese production, to fulfil the requirements of Brussels Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) is “not sufficient to safeguard the interests of Turkish Cypriots and not in keeping with the new positive spirit of the Peace Talks.”
One major problem is that Bureau Veritas is not obliged to provide any reports of its quality inspections to TRNC cheese producers, while the EU Commission and the Greek Cypriots will received reports of all inspections.
Embargoed! Chairman Fahri Zihni said this week:
“We lobbied hard before the PDO was published to explain to the EU Commission the need for an inspection system that is transparent and fair to both communities. Anything less would damage the spirit of positive co-operation that Akinci is bringing to the peace Talks”.
Bureau Veritas already do a huge amount of work for the Greek Cypriot Republic. Who is the client in this contractual arrangement? – not the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus TRNC. We would therefore question whether this constitutes a conflict of interest for the company, given the sensitive nature of Cyprus politics. There is no explanation from the European Commission as to why North Cyprus could not have independent inspections.
We have written a firm letter to Commissioners Cretu and Hogan setting out our concerns. There is now a three-month period during which non-EU members can make objections, and we are hoping that all fair minded people, NGOs, TRNC and other nation states including Britain and Turkey will play a role here and put the inspections regime on the right track.”
Mr Zihni said that Embargoed! is very pleased that the Turkish word, Hellim is included as part of the new PDO definition, providing cultural equality. There is no reason as to why the European Commission cannot also provide equality for the inspection processes.