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CLARA MOSCHINI

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Slovenian balsamic: the question comes to the Senate

The appeal of the consortia meets the support of the senators: "start the infringement procedure against Slovenia"

The spotlight is rekindled on the Slovenian question which has been affecting the Modena balsamic vinegar sector for over a year and which has met the full support of the entire Italian political and institutional world. After many months of discussions and diplomatic talks, the situation has not changed, the Slovenian technical standard remains in force and the local balsamic vinegar is increasingly widespread on the European market (see article EFA News of 17-12-21 ). At this point, a concrete and formal step is needed that puts Slovenia in default and, the only possible path, is the one traced by the infringement procedure provided for by the European Union's operating treaty.
This was the topic dealt with yesterday afternoon during the hearing held at the IX Agriculture and Agri-food Production Commission of the Senate of the Republic and presented by the consortia for the protection of balsamic vinegar of Modena PGI and traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena PDO.

The picture of the sector was made by Mariangela Grosoli, president of the Consortium for the protection of balsamic vinegar of Modena IGP, highlighting that "the problem is serious and puts at risk the sectors of the three balsamic vinegars protected at European level, the Igp and the two PDOs, which together represent a consumer turnover of over one billion euros, an annual production of about 100 million liters and an export of over 90%. What happened with Slovenia is a real circumvention of the regulation, an incorrect practice that must be stopped as soon as possible because it risks creating a dangerous precedent not only for our sector but also for other denominations".

The progress of the work from a legal and procedural point of view was instead illustrated by the director of the Consortium for the protection of balsamic vinegar of Modena PGI Federico Desimoni, who retraced the main steps taken to date. "The procedure provided for by directive 1535/2015, launched in the first months of last year, ended in June 2021 with an unsatisfactory response from Slovenia and with the silence and abstention of the European Commission. After the closure of the procedure we studied the question with the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies and with the State Attorney who, after confirming that the only possible action to avoid the acquiescence of the status quo is the start of the infringement procedure provided for by art . 259 of the TFEU, recognized the presence of all the requisites necessary for the establishment of this procedure. As it is easy to understand, the procedure is not only an act of a legal nature as it also assumes an important political value and, precisely because of this is the responsibility of the Council of Ministers. Therefore, I also ask the Agriculture Commission to stimulate an urgent and decisive intervention by the Government".

Finally, Cesare Mazzetti spoke for the Consortium for the protection of traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena Dop: "It is not just a matter of defending an economic sector that is relevant at national level, but also the intangible assets of our country: quality, tradition, reputation, culture and territories. The operation of Slovenia will bring great confusion, deception to the consumer and will certainly dilute these founding values of the Italian economy and culture".

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EFA News - European Food Agency
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