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Launching of the European Charter for Mountain Quality Food Products

12.12.2005


“Making Living Mountains”



The European Charter for Mountain Quality Food Products was launched on Wednesday 7 December under the protection of Joseph DAUL, Chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee of the European Parliament and in presence of Jacques BARROT, Commissioner for Transport and Vice-President of the European Commission.

The Charter was signed by 48 states, regions and organisations from 11 countries, among the signatories present at the European Parliament were the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development of Norway, The Secretary of State of the Ministry of Agriculture of Romania and a representative of the cabinet of the Minister of Agriculture from France. Prominent MEPs led by Catherine GUY-QUINT, Vice-President of AEM, also signed the Charter along with the producer representatives COPA and COGECA.


“The Charter is quite a sophisticated document but at its heart is simply a list of five characteristics that there is strong consensus must define a mountain quality product. Beyond this the Charter has two main objectives.” says Frank GASKELL, President of Euromontana: “An economic development objective and a policy objective. The economic development objective of providing better identification of quality mountain products in the market in order to avoid counterfeits and misrepresentation that would be detrimental to producers and consumers, especially in the commercial use of the term “mountain” and of contribution to the achievement of a fair price for all of the partners in the commodity chains concerned. The policy objective is equally important - we want to use the Charter to recognise and promote the role of farmers and enterprises that produce benefits for society, public goods, in the mountain areas of Europe and in this very practical way to defend their interests.”

The European Charter for Mountain Quality Food Products is an initiative of Euromontana, the European association for the development of mountain areas, based on its work in different projects. It was launched in cooperation with AEM, European Association of Elected Representatives from Mountain Areas. Both recognise that agriculture and the food sector play a crucial role not only in the economic and social development of mountain areas, but also in the preservation and development of the mountain heritage (biodiversity, traditions, culture, landscape…). The diverse but extremely fragile European mountain areas have in their products a unique comparative advantage.

“We want to maintain a population in the mountains, we want living mountains in Europe, and that is I think in the spirit of this process. Certainly to make the quality products known, but also to make the producers that bring the know-how, the experience, the tradition that gives these mountain products their quality in a society where we now need landmarks, I think this initiative is excellent.” Jacques BARROT, Commissioner for Transport.

Cécile Lévret | alfa
Further information:
http://www.euromontana.org

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