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Cyprus problem serves as deterrent against halloumi objections

The Cyprus problem works as a deterrent against objections to the island’s application to register halloumi/hellim (its name in Turkish) as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis said on Thursday.

So far, several outfits have expressed intention to appeal the applications — an organised group of halloumi producers in the UK, backed by the British government, and two from private businesses that trade the cheese, one located in the US and one in Australia.

The minister did not rule out other objections by the end of the day. At least one was expected from a company in New Zealand.

The companies have two months to justify their objections. The whole process is expected to be finished in six months.

Kouyialis said the UK was obliged, in line with regulations, to back the appeal as an EU member state.

The UK’s objection is accompanied by a letter that recognises that halloumi can be a confidence building measure and contribute to a settlement and that Britain did not want to create any problems, he added.

The minister said there was a letter from New Zealand saying that the country would not back any objections, but could not prevent private citizens from appealing directly.

“I think (the Cyprus problem) prevents many countries from supporting the objections,” Kouyialis said.

Kouyialis said they were not especially concerned over the objections, which were expected, and it were ready to tackle them based on the fact that halloumi is a traditional Cypriot product that is made on the island for hundreds of years.

Cyprus applied to the EU for a PDO last year.

On July 28, the European Commission published the application to designate halloumi/hellim as a PDO in the official journal of the European Union, and at the same time announced a three-month period for objections by natural or legal persons not established or resident in Cyprus.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker supports Cyprus’ PDO application. He helped resolve the issues relating to the Turkish Cypriot producers of halloumi during a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci during his visit to the island in July this year.


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