Michel Barnier has criticised the UK for trying to reopen an agreement to protect EU regional food specialities such as Champagne and Feta, saying the move is “not compatible” with a sustainable future relationship.
Britain and the EU agreed last year as part of their Brexit deal to protect more than 3,000 registered European food names from imitation, including many well known specialties.
The issue is acutely sensitive for many EU countries, and the bloc has invested diplomatic energy down the years to ensure that partner countries keep copycat products off their shop shelves.
Last year’s EU-UK agreement also protected over 80 British food and drink products registered during the country’s decades an EU member state, including Stilton blue cheese and Scotch whisky.
But EU diplomats said that Britain was keen to revisit the issue and transfer the protections, known as “geographical indications” to the two sides’ planned trade deal.