BELGIUM: EU members accept national wine budgets

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Progress has been made in debates over the European Commission's proposed reforms of the European Union (EU) wine market, with member states accepting special national aid budgets for the industry, called 'envelopes'.

Minutes from a Council of Ministers meeting held on Monday (22 October) and yesterday show "most delegations" accepted these, and that their money could be used for restructuring and converting vineyards, promoting new production techniques, sales pushes within and outside the EU, and environmental improvements, including 'green harvesting'.

However, most delegations wanted to retain a clear link between such envelopes, the wine sector and EU spending.

The minutes said the council's agriculture ministers "feared a re-nationalisation of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) or that resources would not be channelled to the wine sector," if national governments had complete authority over envelope spending.

Ministers asked officials to create a compromise deal for agreement by 31 December.

Sectors: Wine

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