EU’s status as a trade force in doubt after halloumi dispute over trade deal with Canada | World | News

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Last week, Cypriot lawmakers voted against the EU’s free trade agreement with Canada in a 37-18 vote. Despite a population of just 1.2 million, Cyprus appears to be risking a treaty that covers nearly 500 million consumers and 28% of the global economy. It is the first EU country to reject such an agreement, which has been provisionally in force since 2017.

The reasons why parliamentarians oppose the EU’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Ottawa (CETA) include concerns about workers’ rights and in particular, insufficient legal protections for Cypriot national cheese: halloumi.The island, shared between the Greek and Turkish sectors, wants their delicacy to enjoy the same protected status as champagne and Parma ham.

The cheese is a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk matured in brine.

It is commonly used as a meat substitute.

A spokesperson for the Center-Left Movement for Social Democracy, one of the parties opposed to the agreement, said: “We are asking for the registration of halloumi as a product of Designation of Origin. Protected from Cyprus as soon as possible, so that we can support the ratification of CETA. ”

The source added that Brussels must “deal with the matter quickly and responsibly”.

According to a POLITICO report, EU officials in Brussels have been preparing for this eventuality for years and believe they have included enough safeguards in the legal framework of trade agreements to ensure that a country’s national parliament does not. could not sabotage the entire agreement.

In addition, Brussels could also include protection for halloumi without reopening the deal.

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The deal almost passed a vote in the lower house – but the Dutch Senate will prove even more difficult to win, as Mark Rutte’s government does not have a majority.

Italy could also create problems.

Italian lawmakers have yet to vote on the deal due to a clash within the ruling coalition with the anti-establishment movement 5Star – the largest party in parliament – openly opposing the ratification

The young Italian Minister of Commerce, Manlio Di Stefano of the 5-Star Movement, has repeatedly said that Italy should not ratify the agreement.

He argues that CETA does not sufficiently protect Italian products, such as gorgonzola and Parmesan, against imitation.



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