Croatia fumes over Slovenia's Kranjska sausage claim

Kaesekrainer sausages The sausage dispute echoes the national tensions that plagued the Austro-Hungarian Empire

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Slovenia's attempt to get EU special status for a local sausage is being resisted by its neighbour Croatia - just months after a similar complaint from Austria.

Slovenia wants EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status for the sausage, called Kranjska klobasa.

But Croatia's agriculture ministry has objected, on behalf of Croatian producers. It is now up to Brussels to try to resolve the dispute.

Croatia will join the EU in mid-2013.

Slovenia argues that Kranjska klobasa, also known as Krainer sausage, was invented in northern Slovenia in the 19th Century. At the time both Slovenia and Croatia were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

PDO status, like the EU's Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), ensures that only products genuinely originating in that region are allowed to bear the name.

The legally enforceable rules protect many national specialities, such as Roquefort cheese, Gorgonzola and Champagne.

Austria's popular variety of the disputed sausage has a cheese filling and is called Kaesekrainer.

Slovenia's STA news agency says Austria and Slovenia have reached a "preliminary" agreement under which the sausage will still be made in Austria under certain conditions.

Slovenia filed its bid for PDO status on 18 February, but Croatia complained to Brussels before 18 August - the six-month deadline for objections to be lodged.

Croatian officials say their country's Kranjska sausage production is worth some 80m kuna (£8.5m; $13m) annually.

The European Commission describes Kranjska klobasa as a pasteurised sausage made from coarsely minced pork and pork fat, with added salt, garlic and pepper.

The sausage undergoes hot smoking and is eaten warm after brief warming in hot water. It has a distinctive "mildly smoky smell".

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