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wine in the eu September 12, 2007

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , trackback

I’m listening to the EU Parliament’s live streaming of a public hearing on wine policy in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. Wine producer representatives are talking to the committee. I started listening to the English version, but then moved on to the French which somehow seems much more appropriate to discussions of wine (even though the speaker whose intervention I’m currently hearing is from Austria). The Commission proposed reforms of the wine sector in July this year (the proposed new regulation is here). One of the problems the EU is addressing is that Europeans are drinking less wine than they used to do.

The Commission states that the objectives of the reform are to:

– increase the competitiveness of the EU’s wine producers; strengthen the reputation of EU quality wine as the best in the world; recover old markets and win new ones in the EU and worldwide;
– create a wine regime that operates through clear, simple rules — effective rules that balance supply and demand;
– create a wine regime that preserves the best traditions of EU wine production,reinforces the social fabric of many rural areas, and ensures that all production respects the environment.

At the same time the Commission notes that there are issues relating to health, consumer protection, the WTO, and common agricultural policy reform. So it’s business as usual: producer and consumer interests may conflict; culture and economic efficiency may conflict; and the different Member States, wine producers and non-wine producers have their own different views about how to move forward.

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