The European Parliament's agriculture committee has warned the Fischer Boel wine reforms will face opposition from MEPs.

Italian conservative MEP Giuseppe Castiglione, handling the brief for the committee, said changes could be sought on proposed labelling rules, which "must not sow confusion", the abolition of chaptalisation and must aid, on which "views differ", and scrapping distillation aid, which raises "environmental concerns".

Yesterday, the French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier expressed reservations over the proposed EU wine reforms, unveiled by European Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel.

 

"Although France can share the main objectives of this reform, substantial differences have appeared concerning ways to implement it," Barnier said in a statement. "This reform will only be accepted by France if it takes into account the interests of the French and European wine sectors."

 

Fischer Boel's five-year plan offers cash incentives to winegrowers who grub up vines, aiming to remove the least competitive producers and help them move into other sectors. The plan aims to reduce Europe's total vineyard area by 200,000 hectares.

 

Barnier said that grubbing up should be limited and supervised and that "temporary extraction" should be envisaged.

 

Under the plan, new plantings are not allowed until mid-2010 except under particular conditions. Fischer Boel would like to see that ban extended until 2013 and then removed.