Alcoholic spirit drinks are to benefit from enhanced protection under labelling and geographical indications to protect such drinks that originate in certain countries and regions in Europe, according to Seán Kelly MEP.

“European spirit drinks, such those originating in Ireland like Irish Whiskey, Irish Cream Liqueur and Irish Poitín, have EU Geographical Indicators as unique beverages, native to a particular country or region in Europe to protect their authenticity,” said Mr Kelly, who has co-authored an Opinion on a review of the proposed new law on behalf of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee.

“I would also like to proudly note that Irish spirits industry export 95 percent of its produce to over 80 international markets with Ireland being the 8th largest spirit producer in Europe, with approximately half a billion euro added to the Irish economy per year”, Mr Kelly told MEPs at the European Parliament in Brussels this week.

The European Commission’s new proposal will improve the decision-making processes and harmonise the procedures for registering spirits with geographical indications. However, Mr Kelly has warned against the introduction of a number of small changes capable of creating difficulties in areas that currently are trouble-free. To that end, MEPs have tabled amendments to resolve the more serious difficulties that the proposal would introduce, related to the clarification of the Register, EU customs code, and illicit goods.

“While the proposed new Regulation is significantly different to the current law, I believe the broad structure continues to be appropriate for the sector. I am particularly pleased that the agriculture legal base has been restored,” MEP Kelly added.

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