Today, the negotiators of the Council and the European Parliament with the presence of the European Commission reached a political agreement on the new rules for the production and labelling of spirit drinks and for the registration and protection of spirit drinks registered as geographical indications (GI).
Attending the conclusive negotiation meeting, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan said: "We welcome the successful conclusion to today's trilogue and the agreement reached on the new Spirit Drinks Regulation. I am confident that the new Spirit Drink Regulation, resulting from today's negotiations, will provide for a legislative framework that meets the needs of the sector and will continue to support its continuing and substantial growth. The modernised rules will also ensure that consumers are accurately informed on the methods used to produce spirit drinks."
Today's agreement means that a clearer labelling of spirit drinks will be guaranteed across the EU and that their composition will be harmonised at EU level. The creation of a register of Member States' control authorities will also facilitate the work of the national enforcement forces to make sure that consumers get the genuine products. Terms of spirit drinks registered as GIs such as Cognac, Irish Cream, Genever or Ouzo will also be better protected against misuse as ingredients and against the registration of similar trademarks.
The Commission looks forward to the formal endorsement of today's agreement by the European Parliament and the Council, thus allowing the new legislation to come into effect as soon as possible.
Main features of the new regulation
- the clarification of the production and labelling rules for most categories of spirit drinks, including the definition of maximum sweetening limits for a number of categories at EU level,
- the improvement of the labelling rules that apply in case spirit drinks are combined with other products, including other spirit drinks;
- the creation of a register of the Member States' control authorities;
- the enhanced protection of GIs: when used as ingredients, when in conflict with Trade Marks and also against goods in transit in the EU territory;
- the further simplification of the GIs procedures: Commission scrutiny to focus only on elements of EU significance, clearer definitions of amendments at national and EU level, fully respecting subsidiarity principle, reduction of the time period for treating applications.
The spirit sector is among the biggest contributors to the agri-food economy in Europe with over one million jobs generated by the production and sales of spirit drinks and €11 billion worth of exports in 2017 all across the globe.
Current Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 (the Spirit Drinks Regulation) provides for the rules on production and labelling for all spirit drinks produced in and imported to the EU. It also provides for specific rules for the registration and intellectual property protection of spirit drinks GIs, in compliance with WTO obligations.
On 1st December 2016, the Commission adopted a proposal of alignment to the Lisbon Treaty of Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 and submitted it to the European Parliament and the Council. At that occasion, the Commission also proposed to improve the legal formulation of certain provisions and streamline the system for the registration of geographical indications for spirit drinks (spirit drinks GIs).
The negotiation process between the Council and the European Parliament started in December 2016 and ended with today's agreement.
27 November 2018