La Treizième Étoile: 12/01/14 - 19/01/14 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
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After eight year campaign, beef and lamb from Devon and Cornwall awarded EU protected status

Saturday, 18 January 2014
Following an eight year campaign, West Country beef and lamb has this week finally been awarded EU Protected Status by the European Commission.

The Implementing Regulation for West Country Beef (pdf) and West Country Lamb (pdf) were recorded in the Official Journal of the European Union on 15 January. As a result, this means that meat from the West Country joins the ranks of Cornish pasties, Cornish clotted cream, Somerset Cider brandy and more than 60 other UK foods as having protected EU status.

To qualify for the status the meat has to come from animals born and reared and slaughtered in the West Country which comprises of the six counties in the south west Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), Devon, Cornwall, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset or Gloucestershire. The beef or lamb must also have at least a 70% forage-based diet.

The West Country Protected Food Name scheme gives products protection from unauthorised imitation and helps consumers know they are buying the “genuine article”.

South West Conservative MEP Julie Girling was delighted with the news. In a statement she said: “I am delighted to hear the European Commission has awarded animals born and reared in six counties in the south west Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. The PGI status is so important for our farmers in the West Country and as the UK Spokesperson for Agriculture in the European Parliament I see this as a massive victory for our local farmers and is testament to the work that goes into rearing such high quality livestock.

This is a good day for South West Consumers and a great day for South West Farmers.

Similarly, the regions’ Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson commented: “Such status gives consumers peace of mind, knowing that what they are eating or drinking is the genuine article and is good quality.

Consumers can now be 100% sure that when they purchase beef and lamb sourced from the south west, it will be a product that has been reared and sourced where farmers know best, where the grass is greener and where the sun shines on our countryside.

Peter Baber, chairman of Meat South West, told the Western Morning News: “We are delighted to be awarded PGI status for West Country beef and lamb. We look forward to working with farmers and processors in the south west region to market top quality beef and lamb under the West Country PGI banner.

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Lib Dem MEP accuses Environment Agency of 'ganderflanking' over flooding response

Wednesday, 15 January 2014
Sir Graham Watson, the South West Liberal Democrat MEP, has continued his battle to secure EU solidarity funding for the recent floods to the European Parliament chamber and in the process introduced an old English word originating from Wiltshire into the European lexicon.

Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday evening, Sir Graham accused the Environment Agency of ‘Ganderflanking’ over the response to persistent flooding over the past few years with a lack of action taken to dredge rivers, particularly on the Somerset levels. He also reiterated his calls for flood management powers to be devolved from the Environment Agency down to local drainage boards, made up of local farmers, businesses and experts.

Ganderflanking is an old English word for ‘moving around aimlessly’ that originates from Wiltshire, but is rarely used these days. There is currently a campaign for the word to be inserted into the Oxford English Dictionary and this was the first ever recorded use of the word in the European Parliament [I’d love to know how the live interpreters managed to translate this!]

In his speech, the Somerset-based MEP said: “I am working with my constituents to secure help from the Solidarity fund for the costs of the clean-up and urgent investment in water management schemes.

Sir Graham wrote to the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and Flooding Minister Brandon Lewis last week, calling on the government to apply urgently for EU solidarity funding. Such funding is accessible to governments to use for repairs and rebuilding in the event of a natural disaster.

After the speech, he commented further: “This is a 'once in a hundred year event' that has happened two years running. It’s time to show the people most affected that their government - be it at local, national or European level - will listen and not stand idly by.
The growing unpredictability of the weather patterns is an early sign that with the onset of man-made climate change, such weather will become harder, not easier to predict and more, not less severe in its impact.


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