EU: Council baulks at Finnish vodka compromise
A compromise solution to the ongoing battle over the definition of vodka in the EU has been tabled.
At an EU Council meeting earlier this week, Finland, which holds the rotating EU presidency, proposed a compromise between the warring factions over how vodka should be labelled. The proposal would allow for two categories of vodka to be sold in the EU.
A product marked 'vodka', would have to be made from traditional ingredients, such as "cereals, potatoes and/or molasses from sugar beet". Meanwhile, a product marked "vodka made/distilled from…" a certain product, would apply for a vodka-style drink made from anything else.
"The Presidency noted that a broad majority within the Council could support the general approach on the proposal for a regulation on the definition, description, presentation and labelling of spirit drinks, as a preliminary basis for discussions with the European Parliament," the minutes of the meeting noted.
In relation to vodka, however, agreement could not be reached and the Council requested legal advice on the Finnish proposal before further discussions take place, most likely under the German Presidency next year. The next move will be for the Council to discuss the issue with the European Parliament, which has to approve the deal.
Opinion has been split between some member states, including Poland, Finland and Sweden, who want vodka protected as a traditional spirit made only from grain or potatoes, and other interested parties who feel that vodka should be made from any raw material.
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