EU announces Cypriot ‘understanding’ over halloumi

EU announces Cypriot ‘understanding’ over halloumi

BRUSSELS – Anadolu Agency
EU announces Cypriot ‘understanding’ over halloumi

Greek Cypriot leader and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades (R) shakes hands with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (C) and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in Nicosia, July 16, 2015. Reuters Photo

In the protracted negotiations to bring together the Turkish and Greek communities of Cyprus, few would imagine that a rubbery cheese would make its mark.

But on July 17, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced the sides had reached a “common understanding” on registering halloumi cheese as a “protected designation of origin” (PDO) product under EU law.

Halloumi, known as “hellim” in Turkish, is a cheese made from a mix of goat and sheep milk that originates in Cyprus. Last year, the Greek Cypriot administration applied to the EU for a PDO, causing concern among the Turkish Cypriot producers of halloumi who feared the move would affect their exports.

“I am able, after tough discussions… [and] happy to announce we found a common understanding as far as the geographical protection of halloumi/hellim cheese under EU law is concerned,” Juncker said after lunch with Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades.

“This common understanding… is highly symbolic and confirms the willingness of the two parties to work together with the commission to build confidence,” he added.