In an open letter released yesterday, signed by the Assembly of European Wine Regions (AREV), together with the Association of European Regions for Products of Origin (AREPO), the European Federation of Origin Wines (EFOW), and the European branch of the Organization for an International Geographical Indications Network (oriGIn EU), and addressed to the European Institutions, AREV has expressed its concern about the apparent direction that the forthcoming reform of the Geographical Indications (GI) policy is taking, in terms of the possible transfer of the management of specifications to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

Through this communiqué, the signatory entities have requested the European Commission, and more directly DG AGRI, to continue to participate in the management of GI policy, given its deep knowledge and global understanding of EU GIs, including the promotion of rural development, sustainability, ex officio protection and the negotiation of bilateral or multilateral agreements, which it has been developing until now, maintaining all the nuances and background that they entail, beyond a brand, name or sign.

AREV considers that, as far as the management of Geographical Indications is concerned, the technical areas specialised in the matter should always take part and should not be fully derived, in a detached and exclusive manner, to the EUIPO. In the case of GIs in the agricultural or agri-food sector, this function corresponds to the current DG AGRI.

The model of GI management advocated by AREV is perfectly compatible with the fact that as the model of GIs and the fields in which they are developed continue to evolve, so will their management system, provided that there continues to be direct involvement of the technical specialised areas in the field in question and that the same level of protection is guaranteed as at present, developed in the spirit in which this model was forged, within the European Commission.