Distillation and storage of wine to be permitted, but not funded

Mercredi 29 avril 2020 par Vitisphere

“The measures proposed are, in the present state of market developments, intended to send a signal aimed at stabilising markets”, said Europe’s Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski.
“The measures proposed are, in the present state of market developments, intended to send a signal aimed at stabilising markets”, said Europe’s Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski. - crédit photo : Union européenne

With tanks full to the brim at production level, the glass remains half empty in Brussels. In a press release issued on 22 April, the European Commission stated that it was proposing “additional exceptional measures to further support agricultural and food markets most affected” by the consequences of the global coronavirus epidemic. Although the milk and meat sectors are entitled to use European support funds for storage, the wine industry is only set to benefit from greater flexibility of its market development programmes and authorisation to use article 222 of the Common Market Organisation (CMO) – in other words, permission to distil and store surplus wine at the expense of Member States that wish to activate the measure.

With France hoping to distil at least 3 million hectolitres of surplus wine (€80/hl for PDOs/PGIs and €65/hl for non-GI wines), the Ministry of Agriculture has indicated that it is maintaining its requests for the European Union to help fund the crisis measure requested by the wine industry (to the tune of €35/hl). “The Commission considers that its budget does not allow it to intervene now. The issue is not about pinpointing the limitations of the current framework, but about knowing whether they can be broadened in a crisis situation”, stressed Jean-Marie Fabre, chairman of France’s independent winery federation. The Languedoc winegrower, who advocates an extension of the crisis recovery toolbox, also prefers to see the glass half full: “The Commission has granted us the [crisis distillation and private storage] measures, but we still have to negotiate politically with ministers and parliamentarians to release European funds”.

 

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