stainless steel machinery inside Terra Creta's olive mill

On November 24, Fotis Sousalis, General Manager of Terra Creta olive oil company in Crete, Greece, was invited to make a presentation at the European Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) Week celebration in Brussels. The event was hosted by the European Economic & Social Committee to highlight the key role SMEs play in Europe’s food and drink sector.

Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development, also attended the event, where FoodDrinkEurope launched its “Small scale, big impact” project and website. As the project name emphasizes, 90% of the food and drink companies in Europe are SMEs, while 63% of the sector’s jobs are in SMEs. A European food and drink industry organization, FoodDrinkEurope is composed of national federations, European sector associations, and large food and drink companies.

According to its press release, the “Small scale, big impact” project “will promote further dialogue with food and drink SMEs and help ensure that their preoccupations and needs are taken into consideration as part of a European sector policy.” Terra Creta is one of the companies featured on the “Small scale, big impact” website, which showcases several European SMEs, locating them “at the heart of Europe’s food and drink industry.” The only other Greek company to attend the Brussels meeting and be featured on the project website is Papadimitriou in Messinia, Peloponnese, “the first manufacturers in Greece that made balsamic [vinegar] exclusively from blackcurrant.” 

Terra Creta’s Fotis Sousalis was pleased to join the eight or nine companies invited to the project launch and to a roundtable discussion with European Commission and national and sector association representatives. He commented that a meeting like this provides a good opportunity for SME representatives to share different ideas, problems, and perspectives about companies’ efforts “with top ranking people of the EU whose policies influence the whole economy and food sector.”

Terra Creta also participated in the EU-GATEWAY mission to promote EU organic products in Korea last month, and Sousalis met the program’s director at the roundtable discussion. Sousalis commented, “European exports do very well around the world. They’re growing because Europe has good products. You don’t have questions” about whether they’re all right. There are “high standards of quality and high standards of safety” in Europe, which “gives a good value to products exported from the EU.”

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