The European Commission decided on Monday to refer Denmark to the EU Court of Justice for failing to prevent or stop local companies from making and exporting outside the EU white cheese labelled as “feta”, a term limited to cheese originating in Greece.
“Feta” is a PDO registered product since 2002 and as such, it can exclusively be produced in Greece according to a set of production specifications.
Although the Commission had launched infringement proceedings against Denmark in January 2018, it was concluded that Denmark had not addressed the issues raised and thus, the Commission decided to refer Denmark to CJEU.
The Commission considered that Denmark has breached its obligations under EU law on the protection granted by the registration as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and since the Danish authorities have also failed to prevent or stop it, the country also infringed the Regulation on quality schemes and the principle of sincere cooperation between the Union and Member States.
The latter is likely to affect on-going negotiations between the EU and third countries for the conclusion of bilateral agreements ensuring the protection of European PDOs and the promotion of EU quality products outside the EU.