An agreement reached this week between the European Union (EU) institutions on the reform of the Common Agriculture policy (CAP) will scrap the existing system of vine-planting rights at the end of 2015, European Commission officials have told just-drinks.

A new system, based on authorisations for new vine plantings for all categories of wine, will start right after the end of the current system, in 2016, and will stay until 2030. The new system will enable member states to more easily transfer unused planting licences to active wine-makers, according to Roger Waite, European Commission agriculture spokesperson.

“What we want to do is to get rid of the reserves and introduce a new system so there can be expansion, but still with some limits,” Waite told just-drinks. Under the deal, member states can increase annually by up to 1% the area planted with vines, he added.

The wine producers’ organisations can influence the decision of national governments on who gets new planting rights and where new vines will be planted, according to Waite. “This is a more flexible and modern system,” he said.

Support for hops production will also be maintained. The European Commission had wanted to get rid of it, but the support had to be kept, at Germany’s insistence. About EUR2.5m (US$3.3m) will be invested in supporting hops-planting under the new CAP, Waite said.

Meanwhile, sugar production quotas will end in September 2017, instead of automatically expiring in 2015, as originally proposed by the European Commission when it put forward the draft reform in 2011.

“I welcome the agreement on sugar and wine,” said French-centre right member of the European Parliament (MEP) Michel Dantin, who was the parliament’s negotiator on CAP wine and sugar issues.