Wine producers step up opposition to liberalisation
By Ed Bray | Tuesday 10 July 2012
The EU’s wine producers ramped up their opposition to the liberalisation of the Union’s wine sector at a meeting of experts in Brussels, on 6 July, saying the move would harm the quality of European wines, cause job losses on family farms and have a negative impact on the environment. “Faced with these potential consequences, there is a need to offer a comprehensive and effective answer to the wine sector, which provides guarantees for all categories of wines,” Riccardo Ricci Curbastro, president of the European Federation of Origin Wines, said after the second meeting of the high-level group.
Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos launched the expert group - bringing together senior member state officials, MEPs and sector representatives - in response to growing opposition from some 16 member states
(1) to a provision in the wine reform, agreed in 2008, that obliges them to phase out planting rights from 2016, or 2018 in justified cases.
“This meeting highlighted that the adverse effects of the liberalisation were not measured in 2008 when the decision was taken, as no impact assessment was carried out at the time. This issue that was recently singled out by the EU Court of Auditors,” Curbastro added. Commission officials say the reform package aims to make the EU more competitive in the face of strong growth in so-called New World wines coming from South America, Australia and South Africa.
The farm lobby group Copa-Cogeca said the changes would see the industrialisation of the wine sector “with dramatic consequences for the environment and land management”.
The penultimate meeting of the group is scheduled for 21 September in Sicily.(1) Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Austria, Romania, Luxembourg, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Finland