The European Court of Auditors (ECA) has argued against maintaining a special European Union (EU) public support system for the wine sector, saying it can rely on the EU’s rural development programme.

In an assessment of the union's wine programme between 2009 and 2013, the financial watchdog noted earlier this week that EUR5.3bn (US$7.25bn) was allocated for wine sector subsidies in the period. Marketing promotions was allocated EUR522m in the period, while grubbing up – up to 2011 – was awarded EUR1bn.

The court has questioned this spending in a detailed report: “The need for an additional investment measure specific to the wine sector is not demonstrated,” the ECA said, given that support is already available from the EU’s rural development policy.

It argued that a supplementary wine investment programme was “a source of complexity” and created “administrative obstacles” to the release of funds.

Marketing promotions were “not appropriately designed and efficiently implemented”. They were “often used for consolidating markets rather than winning new markets or recovering old markets”.

To read the full report, click here.