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The failure of the International Olive Oil Council

The International Olive Council has become a land of guerrillas and the headquarters of Madrid is now surrounded by minefields.

Hard to say since the situation is so tense, easier instead to identify the moment when you have reached the point of no return. On June 1, 2014, Turkey assumed the presidency of IOC, and since then the scenario has changed, with the European Union that was forced to play defense. Until the spring, in fact, gave quite for granted a renewal of the appointment of the Executive Director Jean Luis Barjol for one year, the time to get to the new framework agreement on the operation of the International Olive Council. A line, however, Turkey, which will retain the presidency until 31 May, opposes openly and blatantly. Policy issues and international balances that the current executive director has not been able to govern, making it appear part of a figure, so they seem crushed in defense of some nations or particular interests.

The situation has therefore rendered impassable the route chosen by Brussels for the governance of IOC, and the deadlock in which we find ourselves, rumors began circulating of the most weird and wacky, including piloted by a failure of the International Olive Council. This hypothesis does not exist.

It remains to be seen how the IOC will be kept alive, or if there will be aggressive treatment of a dying man, with an annual renewal agreement expired, or if you want to outline an ambitious path and long-term.

The feeling that the International Olive Oil Council has lost credibility and authority in recent years has unfortunately widespread. The criticisms in the world press have multiplied, becoming more and more insistent.

Too many managements approximate crises, large and small, in the field.

I will not go into the merits of the effectiveness of political communication and promotion of olive oil, which could be questioning a long time, despite the global economic crisis is a perfect alibi.

For not since Adam and Eve, I will refer to events of the last year, starting with the story of Taiwan and oil colored with chlorophyll. We started discrediting the expertise of Asians chemicals, and then invite them to a common table, until you get to the concentration limits for Chlorophyll in olive oils. Obvious that Taiwan has been able to claim victory, even if his views have not found full acceptance.

Not to mention the issue of flavored oils, far more serious political position with regard to the United States, who, for several years now and with the support of Australia, are boycotting the International Olive Council accused to defend limits and trading standards are now obsolete and damage consumers. The policy promoted and imposed by Jean Luis Barjol has always been very accommodating and obliging enough to have wanted the States as observers at IOC, without any counterpart. The United States thus had the opportunity to inspect the proposed lowering of the limits, including acidity and peroxides, making her own and then putting them in the new standard in California, launched on September 26. So in the eyes of the world are the States to appear innovators and the IOC as the entity conservative and retrograde. A great success for an Executive Director who has spent more time in the United States in Madrid in recent months.

Regardless of any personal and professional judgment, it is clear, however, that Jean Luis Barjol today is a divisive rather than a unifying element in a historical moment, however, which calls for maximum effort to get to the sharing of a framework agreement for the functioning of the body that gives him credibility, authority and a long-term perspective.

What will happen in the next few weeks I can not say, but I would throw a wish: W the IOC!

by Alberto Grimelli
14 october 2014, The Opinion > Editorial


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