Brussels to let the wine industry distil and store its surpluses with no support

Monday May 04 2020 by Vitisphere

“It is clear that whatever measures we adopt, with our tight budgetary situation there will always be the expectation that more can be done. We are doomed to choose and prioritise”, said Janusz Wojciechowski.“It is clear that whatever measures we adopt, with our tight budgetary situation there will always be the expectation that more can be done. We are doomed to choose and prioritise”, said Janusz Wojciechowski.

Pressure from ministers and members of parliament has been to no avail - the European Commission has no intention of spending a penny more to help the wine industry through the coronavirus crisis, even though it has acknowledged the current challenges it faces. “The wine sector has already been affected by American sanctions and is now facing new consumption issues due to Covid-19 (closure of restaurants, bars and shops, lack of tourism, greater difficulty in exporting to Asia and the United States ...)”, listed Janusz Wojciechowski, the European Commissioner for Agriculture on April 30 to the agriculture committee of the European Parliament.

As he presented an 80-million-euro plan “in support of the worst affected [agricultural] sectors”, the Polish commissioner announced for the wine industry that “the issue will be about introducing flexibility for producer organisations in the management of their operational programmes”. This will include, in particular, “the possibility for beneficiaries to change their operations without prior approval” and “the possibility of using more than a third of the expenditure in operational programmes for crisis management measures”, which “mainly pertain to two measures in addition to operational programmes: crisis distillation and aid for private storage (there will also be flexibility introduced for green harvesting)". As announced on 22 April, the Commission is authorising distillation and storage, but is not supporting them with new funding, allowing Member States to use aid already allocated or to co-finance the measures.

 

 

 

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