Greece wants changes to EU-Canada trade deal to protect “feta” name, or it won’t sign deal

Pensioners wait outside the National Bank of Greece to get their monthly pensions on April 29, 2015. Greece has been trying to negotiate a deal that would unlock €7.2bn ($7.8bn) in remaining EU-International Monetary Fund bailout money that the debt-ridden Mediterranean country needs to avoid default and a possible exit from the euro. Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP

BRUSSELS, May 5 (Reuters) – Athens will not back a multi-billion dollar trade pact between Canada and the European Union unless the deal is changed to specify that only Greece can use the term “feta” for its salty white cheese, according to a document seen by Reuters.

After five years of difficult negotiations, Canada and the European Union agreed a free-trade accord last year, but unexpected wrangling over aspects of the final text have intensified in recent months and could delay its ratification.

Greece will tell EU trade ministers in Brussels on Thursday that the agreed text does not protect Greek feta in Canada because, under the terms of the pact, Canadian companies using the ‘feta’ name before October 2013 can continue to do so.

“We have informed the European Commission about the numerous usurpers of our famous feta cheese in the Canadian market,” Greek diplomats wrote in a note prepared for Thursday’s meeting. They added that “it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible for us, to endorse” a EU-Canada trade accord…

  • Thermblog

    So kick Greece out of the EU. Feta compli.

    • tom_billesley

      We could let them save face – they could kick everyone else out of the EU. Who needs it?

  • Typical Balkan-style quarrel – exactly the same type of cheese is also made in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Romania and Turkey. Are the Greeks going to ban those countries from selling it in Canada?

    • tom_billesley

      There you go, upsetting the Greeks by calling it Macedonia. They insist on you calling that country FYRoM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) or they’ll stamp their feet and scream.

      • AlanUK

        “I’ll scweam and scweam and make mythelf thick”

      • Frau Katze

        Greece has a real hang-up about the name “Macedonia”. It’s quite entertaining.

      • No kidding – no matter what you say about a nationality in that area, there will always be another nationality nearby that gets offended. By the way, the Slavic Macedonians sincerely believe they are the heirs of Alexander (even though the Albanians are already nearly 50% of the population). To see even more local insanity, you may check the fight between Turkey and Cyprus over the rights on “lokoum” (“Turkish delight”) in the EU.

  • barryjr

    Eff Greece, all you have are a bunch of messed up welfare recipients with delusions of grandeur. Other than a few teachers and the idea of democracy nothing has ever come out of that dump. Just build big walls around the country and use it as a place to put the African invaders.

  • David Murrell

    My wife recently taught me how to make a Greek salad, large scale, for our weekly-church Sunday lunches. So we buy lots of feta cheese, I like the taste of it, and I do not mind if Greece keeps the name. I like Greek salads. We can buy the feta cheese anywhere, from any country.

    • andycanuck

      Unless Quebec cheese-makers get it banned or prohibitively taxed!

  • Ron MacDonald

    I’m surprised it hasn’t added olive oil to the list.

  • FactsWillOut

    Change it to “fêta”.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    To me this is academic. My doctor warned me that salty cheese could be hazardous to my health.

    • FactsWillOut

      First they came for the cheese eaters. Not being a cheese eater, I did nothing.

    • andycanuck

      Careful, Norman, you don’t want to be a salted in NYC!

  • ntt1

    I have no problem with place name branding.parma hams are thus protected as are several lines of wine.a manufacturer merely adds “style” after the name and every body is happy yes many places produce similar products but the originator should have naming rights the imitators can just use style or method

    • FactsWillOut

      Foreign countries have no place dictating what Canadian business should or should not do.

      • WalterBannon


        Also, I don’t recall ever being asked by politicians if I wanted free trade with the Fourth Reich

    • WalterBannon

      So you have no problem with the govt arbitrarily denying Canadian companies from continuing to brand their products the way the want and the way they have for decades or even longer?

      Any other state dictates you want to impose on the “free” market?

  • AmicusC

    simply tell Greece to pay their bills or shut up.

  • WalterBannon

    Cancel the deal. I do not want any trade with the Fourth Reich

    • Fourth Reich?! You give them too much credit.

  • Surele Surele

    Oh, for goodness sake. Keep your feta. After all, in Canada it is legal to sell ‘feta style’ cheese (produced anywhere in the world). Did you ever try Israeli ‘feta style’ cheese? Hands down the better cheese.

    • tom_billesley

      On UK grocery shelves, “Canadian Cheddar” sits quite happily next to the “West Country Farmhouse Cheddar” (the only Cheddar with a protected designation of origin) and other British or Irish Cheddars. Nobody is confused or bothered.

  • FactsWillOut

    The term “free trade” is great:
    We got some assholes who over-regulate our domestic market dealing with some assholes who over-regulate some foreign domestic market getting together to decide how to regulate how our businesses should do business in other markets, and vice/versa, and that’s what they call “free”.
    It’s a fucking joke.

  • Allan

    Tell Greece to f-off. They need us more than we need them.

    • FactsWillOut

      I think it’s the whole EU.

  • john700

    No Canadian should go and vacation in Greece. Also, the Germans should stop visiting.

  • BillyHW

    Have the Greeks accomplished anything in the last 2500 years?