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MP and Agriculture Ministry debate status of 'Tokaj' designation

11 Dec 2009

Slovakia has not abandoned the geographic designation Tokaj because Slovakia has the term as a protected designation of origin and continues to exert this right, the spokesperson for Slovakia's Agriculture Ministry, Adriana Jobbíková, said on December 10, as reported by the TASR newswire.

She was speaking in response to claims made by MP Zsolt Simon (Most-Híd party) that Slovakia has renounced domestic legislative support for the Tokaj area. The MP has said “we've done exactly the opposite to what Hungary has done because Slovakia changed the Tokaj area to the Tokajská area as of September 1.”

“At a time when the European Commission was creating its electronic register, Act No. 182 Coll. from 2005 on winegrowing and viticulture was in effect in Slovakia, with the Act containing the (Tokaj) designation. The current law also contains the Tokaj designation in several grammatical forms,” responded Jobbíková.

Regarding the decisive period for the registration of the Tokaj designation, she said the designation had been protected in Slovakia for three years while Hungary was only working on its legislation at that time. “This means that Slovakia has the protected designation of the Tokaj origin and continues to have the right to use it,” she told TASR.

Simon was reacting to Agriculture Minister Vladimír Chovan's statement that the protected wine brand Tokaj has been recognised and registered by the EU Commission only for Hungary, even though the wine-producing area extends into south-east Slovakia. Simon is now calling on Chovan to change legislation to include the 'Tokaj' area and to approve this in Parliament via fast-tracked proceedings. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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