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01/06/2006

The European commission believes the EU makes too much low quality wine: The reform of the wine sector

In recent years the EU - including Bulgaria and Romania - has produced approximately 180 million hectolitres of wine, creating a surplus of 22 million hectolitres. This surplus looks set to increase since European producers have steadily lost market share to New World competitors such as Australia and Chile (the demand for European wine is declining by a steady 0.65 per cent while imports are on the rise).

Getting rid of unsold wine is currently costing the EU around €500m per year, with the sector as a whole absorbing €1.3bn of the EU's annual budget.

The adoption of a wine reform proposal has been put on the Commission working programme for 2006. The main steps are:

  • The Commission held a wine seminar with a wide range of European stakeholders, on 16 February 2006.
  • An Impact Assessment report will cover several options and their likely effects, and should be finalised by Mid-2006.
  • A Commission Communication to the Council and the Parliament will be presented by Mid-2006.
  • An appropriate legislative proposal would follow later in 2006.

EU officials are proposing to take out of use 400,000 of the 3.5 million hectares of EU winery land.

For further information on this topic http://ec.europa.eu/comm/agriculture/capreform/wine/index_en.htm