FRANCE: ECJ upholds Charentes ruling
"The Commission was fully entitled to find in the contested decision that the aid at issue was incompatible with the provisions governing the common organisation of a market," the court declared.
The French government had informed the EC that it was encouraging Cognac producers to switch to local wine production in a 1000-hectare area of the Charentes region, offering incentives for pulling up ugni blanc and planting other grape varieties.
The Commission subsequently ruled that the programme, conducted during the 1998/1999 and 1999/2000 vintages, violated state aid rules and ordered France to cancel the scheme and recover the funds it had granted.
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