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AGRICULTURE : WINE REFORM DEBATE GETS UNDERWAY.

A report on reform of the wine sector backing the ideas defended by the three main wine-producing countries of the EU was presented on 10 October by Giuseppe Castiglione (EPP-ED, Italy) to the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee. It suggests no fewer than 165 changes to the European Commission's proposals. This initial debate brought to light the marked divergences between MEPs on sensitive subjects, such as budget allocation, wine enrichment and abolition of other distillation schemes, grubbing up and the liberalisation of planting rights. On the other hand, wide consensus emerged on the need not to make transfers between the first pillar (market support) and the second (rural development).

For implementing the reform, Castiglione said the date of 1 August 2009 appears more realistic than 1 August 2008, as proposed by the Commission, considering that the member states will first have to set up their national programmes. On the question of the addition of sugar to enrich wines (chaptalisation), the rapporteur shares the opinion of the EU executive that this practice should be banned, although several MEPs from Northern Europe have called for a better north-south balance on chaptalisation and enrichment using grape must. They note that a majority of member states seem to support the possibility of chaptalisation in certain regions.

The rapporteur also stressed that the programme for uprooting 200 hectares of vineyard should take place over three years instead of five, so as to allow for higher premiums.

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Publication:European Report
Date:Oct 11, 2007
Words:240
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