Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said on Sunday that the aim is for Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to work together in order to protect the national cheese “halloumi” or “hellim” from foreign imitators.
Christodoulides, who was commenting on publications which appeared in the Cypriot press on the matter, assured that “the government is monitoring the matter very closely, in cooperation with Brussels and the relevant departments here in Cyprus”.
He said the government is aware that UN Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide had, among others, broached the matter of the Cypriot cheese during meetings he had in Brussels and that Turkish Cypriots have for some time now taken consecutive steps expressing “in our view, unjustified and untimely concerns”.
Christodoulides also said that the government has informed both the UN and Brussels that the matter does not fall neither within the remit of Eide`s mandate nor of his competences.
He assured that the government has made it clear that the application for a product`s designation of origin constitutes a right enjoyed by all EU member states.
In this context, the Spokesman said, the Cypriot government has exercised its right and has followed to the letter the relevant process. All interested parties, he added, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots had the opportunity to submit their objections when the matter was at an internal consultation stage.
“As you know we asked for the name halloumi and hellim to be designated across Cyprus”, he pointed out.
The aim, he said, “is to build on the historically unifying character of halloumi, which constitutes a common tradition and a historic reality for Cyprus”.
Right now, when the European Commission is reviewing the product`s file on the basis of technical and very specific criteria, “we should all join forces, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, in order to protect our product from foreign imitators”.