The High Level Group on Wine met for the third time to discuss the future management of wine plantings. Following the discussions in the first two meetings, the Commission presented several ideas for a system to apply after 2015.
The Commission accepts that the liberalisation decided in the 2008 reform has created serious concerns among producers, and is therefore open to a more flexible solution, but certainly not a simple extension of the old system. “If there is to be a system of managing plantings, it must be flexible, non-restrictive, both at EU and Member State level, and involve the sector. We recognise that a modern and ambitious system cannot be centralised in Brussels. This would favour a better organisation, cooperation and management of the system and the sector with an aim to develop collectively the added value sector and to share these economic benefits”, according to José Manuel Silva Rodriguez, Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate General fot Agriculture and Rural Development. During the debate, two essential and complimentary tools were discussed: a management of plantings for wines with geographical indications (PGI, PDO), and a safeguard clause to avoid a rapid expansion in planting of wines without geographical indications. Most member States reacted favourably to these concepts and will submit further comments to the Commission in writing in the coming weeks. A fourth and final meeting of the High Level group is foreseen for the end of November, during which it is hoped that the group will draw up conclusions to this process of reflection initiated by EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos in January 2012.
The High Level Group is designed to provide a forum for discussion on the liberalisation of wine planting rights, agreed by Member States in the 2008 reform of the wine sector. It was established by Commissioner Cioloș in response to calls from the sector in most of the producer Member States to extend the system of wine planting rights. The Group comprises very senior representatives of Member State Ministries of Agriculture with a view to study in more depth all the aspects related to wine planting rights.