‘Made in Europe’ labels may soon tag Irish goods

IRISH-MADE goods could have a “made in Europe” label attached to them if Italy has its way.

The country known for its chic clothing and expensive names thinks the Europe tag would be good for business. It has asked the European Commission to come up with some proposals. The first ideas are due to be released at the end of February.

A spokesperson for the Commission said the Made in Europe or Made in the EU label would not mean a ban on products saying in which country they were made.

“It will be up to manufacturers to decide if they want to put on two labels,” said the spokesperson.

The trade section of the commission is consulting member states, industry and consumer groups on the idea and said it will only go ahead if it has the backing of all these interests.

“There is no official proposal or decision on this yet. The idea came from the Italians when they held the presidency last year and from the commission.

“We hope to bring forward a proposal at the end of February or the beginning of March on this, and then it will be up to the member states themselves and the Parliament to decide if they want to run with it,” said the spokesperson.

Arancha Gonzalez, spokesperson for Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, admitted it could mean extra costs for industry. “The Made in EU mark would carry a number of advantages, such as promoting a mark of distinction and higher visibility for the EU, while on the minus side, it could mean additional costs for industry,” she said.

The idea was discussed by diplomats from all the member states at a meeting in Brussels last month. There will be further discussions before the commission puts forward its proposals. At present, there are no regulations governing labels on EU products, but a number of years ago Ireland had to change its “guaranteed Irish” scheme.

This was funded by the State and the EU decided it was against union regulations to have a country’s goods being marketed by the State in this way.

Since then both the Irish and British guarantee schemes have been funded by private enterprise.

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