Proposals to make the payment of European Union (EU) subsidies to wine growers easier have been released by the European Commission today (12 October), as part of a major tabling of reforms to the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Assuming the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers agree, from 2013 “payments are covered within the ‘single farm payment’”, meaning that no special subsidy rules for vineyards will apply, according to an EU spokesperson. Subsequently, applications for EU subsidies could be made simpler and cheaper.

The spokesperson also confirmed that plans to abolish planting rights would remain under the reforms. The same applies to sugar, with restrictive EU production quotas set to end in 2015.

The reform package has a heavy environmental emphasis with all food and drink producers, including key ingredient suppliers to the drinks sector, being required to conserve 7% of holdings as field margins, hedges, trees, fallow land and other landscape features. Some areas must also be given over to permanent grassland.

This last point has upset EU food and drink producer association COPA-COGECA which said that, given the current high prices of ingredients, “it does not make sense to require every single farm to stop producing on a certain percentage of their land”.