Brussels, 14 December 2012
High Level Group on Wine formulates its conclusions
The High Level Group on wine planting rights, established last April at the request of European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş, has finished its work today. This group of experts, comprising representatives from the 27 Member States, from the sector, as well as observers from the Council, from the European Parliament and from Croatia, has drafted a report accompanied by conclusions.
These conclusions will be presented to the Council and the European Parliament. They will feed into the on-going debate on this point within the framework of the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.
The principal conclusions are the following:
Broad support emerged on the need to maintain a regulatory framework for wine planting in the EU for all categories of wine (Protected Denominations of Origin, Protected Geographical Indications and wines without geographical indications) after the end of the current regime of wine planting rights.
The experts concluded that it was vital to have a dynamic regulatory mechanism which creates favourable conditions for the balanced development of the European wine sector.
The High Level Group considered several options for the future and advanced a system of "authorisations" for new vine plantings applicable to all categories of wine. This system would be managed by the Member States, taking account of recommendations coming from the recognised and representative professional organisations of the sector. Any new vine planting in all categories would subject to such authorisation. The authorisations would be free, non-transferable, and valid for a limited period of 3 years.
This system would be accompanied by a safeguard mechanism at EU level, fixing an annual percentage for authorised new planting, with the possibility for Member States to set a lower national or regional level, or per wine category, based on objective and non-discriminatory criteria.
If the sum of all eligible individual applications is lower than these national thresholds, all of the applications would be granted. In case of applications for authorisations exceeding these national thresholds, authorisations would be granted on the basis of objective and non-discriminatory priorities established at EU level, possibly complemented by national criteria respecting the same principles.
This new system would apply for a period of possibly 6 years, with a possible review clause. Transitional measures should also be foreseen.
This evening, Commissioner Cioloş welcomed the reflections by the High Level Group and thanked the experts from the Member States and from the sector for their commitment.