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Conference sums up lessons learned in food safety and consumer protection from Georgia and Moldova

On July 28, 2016, Europe Foundation (EPF) is organizing an international conference Improving Food Safety and Consumer Protection Following the EU Association Agenda: Experience of Georgia and Moldova. The event will take place during 09:00 – 18:30 at Rooms Tbilisi Hotel (14 Kostava Street).

The event takes place in the framework of the project Transparent Convergence to the EU Policies in Sanitary Issues: the Case of Georgia and Moldova funded by the European Union (EU) and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

The conference will be opened by Mr. Gustaf Winstrand, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Sweden, Ms. Cristina Casella, Programme Manager at the EU Delegation to Georgia and Ms. Nino Khurtsidze, Vice President of Europe Foundation.

The conference aims at bringing together European, Georgian, and Moldovan experts and stakeholders to share experience and to discuss future steps toward improving food safety and consumer protection in the two countries, so that the reforms contribute to improved socio-economic conditions for the citizens of Georgia and Moldova. The issues to be addressed during the conference have been put on the public agenda by EPF for many years, as they have been flagged in the Foundation’s annual SPS assessments. They are also very much relevant to Moldova and other Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries that have undertaken similar obligations. As a reflection of the needs in Georgia and Moldova, the thematic discussions will focus on food safety control systems, transparency of food enterprise control results, civil society participation in the reforms, risk assessment in the SPS field, and cooperation between public institutions working on food safety and consumer protection issues. The challenges and opportunities posed by SPS reforms will be discussed together with the conference speakers who represent such institutions as the European Commission, European Food Safety Authority, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Estonian Dairy Association, and others.

Background:
By signing the Association Agreements (AA), relations of Georgia and Moldova with the European Union have moved into a new phase, as the AAs with their Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) envision comprehensive legal and economic reforms so as to bring the two countries closer to Europe. Food safety and consumer protection field has been greatly impacted by these developments, with both Georgia and Moldova implementing reforms to approximate sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) legislation and practices with those of the EU. While the conclusion of AAs gave strong impetus to SPS reforms in both countries, these efforts will only bear fruit, if the ultimate goal of SPS reforms is well understood, the reforms are tailored to the realities of Georgia and Moldova, and the adopted policies strike adequate balance between legitimate interests of consumers and entrepreneurs.

Contact Person: Lela Berdzuli, Program Associate, Europe Foundation. E-mail: lberdzuli@epfound.ge Tel.: 225-39-42/43.

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