Slovenia is set to oppose any moves by the EU to force the Eastern European country to grub up vineyards, according to local reports.

The country's Agriculture Minister, Marija Lukacic, said that, while Slovenia supported wine sector reform, any large reduction in vineyards would lead to "environmental and social problems", a report from the STA news agency said yesterday (18 September).

"Even though the reduction is proposed as voluntary, the mere existence of the possibility creates conditions for the cuts - that is our experience with the sugar reform," Lukacic said.

Under proposals tabled by the European Commission, around 400,000 hectares of vineyards would be cut throughout the EU. The plan means that around 2,000ha of vineyards in Slovenia could be lost, the report said.

Slovenia supports some of the Commission's other proposals, including an end to crisis distillation.

The Commission announced the plans in June to bring the continent's winemakers in line with New World producers, while stymieing the crisis in the industry.

The new plan will pay up to EUR2.4bn (US$3bn) over five years for producers to stop producing and grub up some of their vineyards.

At the same time, the restrictions on labelling of European wines are set to be revised, allowing the name of the grapes used to be put on the bottle to bring European practices in line with New World producers.