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Information provision and promotion measures for agricultural products on the internal market and in third countries
Pedro Sanz Alonso
President of the Regional Government of La Rioja, Spain

Information and promotion measures for agricultural products on the internal market and in third countries are particularly important for enabling the agricultural sector to cope with the many challenges it faces at a time of growing competition.

This is a proposal for a new framework to support and boost information and promotion measures for European agricultural products both within and beyond Europes borders. The rapporteur believes it is of particular importance in the face of growing competition and that these proposals will facilitate the opening up of markets. Moreover, the proposals should enable consumers to learn more about the EU's quality and high production standards, which will lead to greater  confidence in European products.

President Sanz Alonso notes that the European agricultural sector is essential to the development of local and regional economies and that this regional dimension should remain a key component in achieving the goal of balanced development across Europe's regions. He also reiterates that the regions need an ambitious and effective promotion policy that showcases the quality and distinctive characteristics of their agricultural products.

The opinion makes a call to the Commission not to fix any a priori objective regarding the percentage of the funds for information and promotion measures for EU agricultural products in third countries to ensure that the internal market in not neglected. Whilst welcoming proposals for quality schemes to use the official logos of the EU, the Riojan President insists that the geographical origin of the product should be clearly stated because the region's name is often closely linked to a product's intrinsic characteristics.

Turning to the range of beneficiaries and the list of eligible products, the rapporteur calls for particular attention to be given to SMEs because they are the most common type of business across Europe's regions. To conclude, he requests that Member States be allowed voluntarily to co-finance programmes with the Commission.