14 January, 2006
The foreign ministry is preparing a campaign to promote Greek poultry products abroad in a bid to cushion the impact of an anticipated bird flu scare on poultry farmers, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripides Stylianidis announced on Friday.
In a joint press conference with Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou to present an initiative for a program entitled "Network for the Protection of the Consumer of the Western Balkans", Stylianidis said the campaign would stress the high quality of Greek poultry.
In addition, the finance ministry will set aside €7 million for the purchase of Greek poultry products that will be donated as food aid through the activities of the foreign ministry's developmental aid service HELLENICAID.
Concerning the Western Balkans Consumer Network being set up by the development ministry, they said this would be funded by €1 million from the foreign ministry and that its aim would be to establish the exchange of information between five countries of the western Balkans (Greece, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) concerning food safety crises, product quality problems and dangerous manufactured goods that were on sale in the Balkans.
Officials said that this will create a second line of defense beyond the borders to protect Greek consumers from dangerous products arriving from neighboring markets, along the lines of the RASFF and RAPEX networks operating in the EU. In addition, the program will also provide training for market inspection bodies, businesses and consumer organizations on issues of product safety and consumer protection.
Papathanasiou said that Romania and Bulgaria were not included in the program, which will begin operating in 2007, because they will have joined the EU and be incorporated in EU consumer protection networks by that date. He did not rule out the future extension of the network to Turkey, however, and said that plans were being made for bilateral agreements establishing penalties for failure to provide proper information to other states in the network.
Source: Athens News Agency