MEPs have rejected Finnish calls for an increase in alcohol taxes, arguing that an increase would prove the death knell for EU wine producers.

Finland, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, presented its plans in the European Parliament yesterday (13 July), arguing that higher taxes would reduce alcohol abuse and cut spiralling EU health costs.

But calls for wine-producing countries to put an end to their policy of zero taxation on wine met with a frosty reception.

German MEP Werner Langen, who represents the Rhineland-Palatinate, which includes the Mosel wine region, said any increase in wine taxes could not be supported.

"Producers are already having to spend billions of euros on making the wine sector more market-orientated under new EU proposals, and now the Finns want to increase taxes as well."

"This would only lead to further reductions in wine consumption at a time when producers are already struggling to compete," he said.