EU: Ministers give Commission wine proposals rough ride
The European Commission has told just-drinks that it will power ahead with its proposed wine reforms, despite an overwhelmingly negative reaction at the European Union (EU) Council of Ministers.
Brussels was "not in the least discouraged" by the criticism at yesterday's (16 July) council meeting, Commission wine spokesman Johan Reyniers said.
Arch-critic France resisted any changes in winemaking practices and joined with others to oppose the abolition of planting rights after 2013. Germany said member states should be given more flexibility to deal with wine problems within their "national envelope" of allowable subsidies and opposed the proposed ban on sugar enrichment.
That said, a council spokeswoman said there was a "surprisingly warm welcome" for the reform package from Italy, Spain and Greece, and all 27 member states agreed that some kind of reform was necessary. Reyniers said the Commission had anticipated resistance and there was no question of Brussels making changes at present.
Newer EU members criticised the use of past EU subsidy records, to calculate future national handout limits.
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