COUNCIL OFBrussels, 5 October 2007
THE EUROPEAN UNION
11772/1/07 REV 1
AGRIORG 79 AGRIFIN 81 WTO 149
Working Party on Wines and Alcohol
on: 10, 11, 18, 19, 23 and 24 July, 3, 4, 13 and 14 September 2007
to: Special Committee on Agriculture
No. Cion prop.: 11361/07 - COM(2007) 372 final + ADD 1 (SEC) 894 + ADD 2 (SEC) 893
Proposal for a Council Regulation on the common organisation of the market in wine and amending certain Regulations
2.At its meetings on 10, 11, 18, 19, 23 and 24 July, 3, 4, 13 and 14 September 2007, the
Working Party on Wines and Alcohol completed the first reading of the technical
examination of the proposal. In this context, reference was made where necessary to the
Impact Assessment (doc 11361/07 ADD 2).
3.An Addendum1 to this Report contains the draft Regulation annotated with:
· the principal positions of delegations, as expressed in the Working Party and in their
· the main comments and clarifications from the Commission representative in response to
points raised by delegations;
· a number of drafting and technical points.
4.In general, delegations welcomed the Commission's proposal2 as a good basis for discussion,
albeit capable of improvement in certain respects in order to meet the broadly supported
objectives of the reform.
5.In the course of the discussions, several issues raised by the delegations were of a more
political nature and these are summarised below. On each of these issues, the Commission
II. KEY ISSUES IDENTIFIED
A)NATIONAL SUPPORT PROGRAMMES AND SPECIFIC SUPPORT MEASURES
6.Although most delegations welcomed the proposed creation of national envelopes, there were
6.1 Submission of the support programmes: some delegations considered that the proposed
deadline for submission of 30 April 2008 was unrealistic since neither the Regulation nor the
Commission implementing regulation would be adopted before 2008; two delegations
underlined the difficulty for Member States of submitting a single draft programme
accommodating all regional particularities; two other delegations noted the difficulty of
making provision for a five year period given the need for flexibility to provide for urgent
measures to face market crises.
6.2 The proposed menu of eligible measures: several delegations considered the list of
measures was too limited and requested its extension to allow Member States more flexibility
and efficiency in order to achieve the objectives of the reform. Referring to the specific
proposed measures on:
· support for promotion on third-country markets: several delegations requested that
funding also be made available for promotion on the internal market, while other
· support for green harvesting: several delegations expressed doubts on the effectiveness of
such a measure given the very limited quantities concerned; on this basis, two of these
delegations considered this measure too expensive; other delegations insisted that, during
a transitional period, other measures should be made available to replace those whose
abolition is proposed immediately; some other delegations expressed doubts on the
compatibility of this measure with the WTO's "Green Box" criteria; some delegations also
highlighted the difficulty of submitting a support programme containing this kind of
measure given that market crises often result from unpredictable climatic events;
· support for setting-up mutual funds and for harvest insurance: some delegations doubted
the effectiveness of these measures which, in their view, would not have an immediate
impact; in this context, most of these delegations were concerned that nothing is foreseen
for the first marketing year of the reform when revenue loss will not be compensated for,
and called for more flexibility by providing for more instruments during a transitional
period; one delegation requested a phasing-in period for the implementation of these
measures; other delegations considered that these measures should not be financed by the
6.3 Cross-compliance: one delegation considered that Article 14 should only concern measures
on regular annual aid payments.
7.The proposed transfer of funds from the CAP first pillar to the second pillar was supported by
some delegations from small producer countries; most of these delegations favoured
transferring an even larger amount since this would allow for a more efficient use of those
funds; one delegation agreed with the proposed transfer but considered that the funds should
be earmarked for the wine sector.
Many other delegations had substantial reserves on such a transfer believing that in order to
achieve the objectives of the reform, the funds should be preserved under the first pillar and
allocated in the national envelopes; one delegation considered that it should be possible for
the measures currently financed in the context of rural development to be financed by the
proposed Regulation with additional resources; some delegations had reservations on the key
to allocating the funds among the Member States and on the proposed reference period.
C)CLASSIFICATION OF WINE GRAPE VARIETIES
8.Some delegations were reluctant to maintain the obligation for small producer Member States
to classify the grape varieties which may be planted on their territories given the disproportion
between the substantial administrative burden entailed and the small quantity of production
concerned. In order to simplify the procedure, most of these delegations proposed to limit this
D)OENOLOGICAL PRACTICES AND RESTRICTIONS
10.A number of delegations objected to the proposed transfer of competence to the
Commission for approving new or modifying existing oenological practices. Referring to the
assessment by the Commission of the oenological practices adopted by the International
Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) and their proposed subsequent incorporation into a
Commission regulation, three delegations underlined the need to take into account the
Community's horizontal quality policy applicable to foodstuffs. While in favour of a
simplified procedure for the adoption or modification of oenological practices, some
delegations stressed the political dimension of the decision to incorporate the oenological
practices recognised by the OIV and considered that it should be taken by the Council. Some
other delegations expressly supported the Commission proposal.
11.Several delegations criticised the proposed authorisation of oenological practices recognised
by the OIV (but not yet by the EU) for making wine for export, considering it difficult to
implement and to control and underlining the increased administrative expense that it would
entail. In this context, one delegation requested that the authorised Community oenological
practices should also apply to products for export; another delegation insisted that the
Community restrictions in Annex VI of the proposal should also apply.
12.Concerning the enrichment limits, several delegations requested to maintain the status quo,
13.A large majority of delegations, opposed the introduction of a ban on the use of sugar for
enrichment, stressing in particular that:
· the use of sugar is a traditional oenological practice linked to climatic conditions in most
northern and central regions of Europe, where no surplus production has been noted;
· the use of must in relation to enrichment will raise the prices and lead to lower
competitiveness, which is in conflict with the purpose of the reform;
· the Community has authorised the use of sugar in the EC/USA bilateral agreement on
trade in wine and other third countries could request the same treatment.
Some delegations supported the proposed prohibition of the use of sugar while suppressing
must aid, considering it as the crux of the proposed fundamental reform which should affect
all Member States. These delegations underlined that the use of sugar is not authorised by the
OIV, neither by most third countries.
As a compromise solution, some delegations proposed that this practice be exceptionally used
in years when climatic conditions are unfavourable in certain wine-growing zones; other
delegations suggested this practice be mentioned on the label in order to inform the consumer.
14.While some delegations expressly welcomed maintaining the ban on wine-making of
imported musts, some other delegations could not support it, underlining that it is in conflict
E)DESIGNATIONS OF ORIGIN (DO) AND GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS (GI)
15.Although expressing some doubts about particular aspects of the proposed system, some
delegations expressed general support. Other delegations were reluctant to revise the current
system which, in their view, is efficient and cannot be held responsible for the lack of
competitiveness of the EU's wine sector; some of these delegations also considered that the
proposed classification would favour the current "Latin system" to the detriment of that
prevailing in the North-Central Europe, the so-called "German system". Many delegations
highlighted the ambiguous nature of the proposed regime in particular the interpretation to be
given to the DO and the GI definitions; one of these delegations considered that the definition
of DOs should be amended so as to preserve the current concept whereby tradition and
reputation are included in the designation; some delegations underlined the need to include
current wine making rules in the Regulation.
16.With regard to the content of the applications for the protection of names as DOs or GIs,
several delegations expressed doubts about the elements of the product specification enabling
interested parties to verify the relevant conditions of production of the DOs or GIs. Some
delegations also highlighted the significant administrative burden that the new system of GI
recognition would entail. As far as the decision on protection was concerned, some
delegations expressly requested that it should be taken by the regulatory committee and not,
as proposed by the Commission, by the management committee.
19.Several delegations pointed out that the proposed procedure to register the existing protected
wine names would constitute a substantial administrative burden and would not correspond to
automatic protection; these delegations called for a simplified procedure.
20.As far as the implementing rules for the new system were concerned, two delegations
requested the competence of the regulatory committee instead of the management committee.
One delegation called for a transition period for the implementation of the new provisions.
21.Several delegations were reluctant to revise the current rules given that they are relatively new
and do not curb the competitiveness of EU products; they also doubted whether the proposed
rules would improve competitiveness.
22.Some delegations insisted on the need to maintain the possibility to use the term "wine"
accompanied by the name of a fruit to describe products obtained by the fermentation of fruit
other than grapes.
23.Referring to the optional particulars, certain delegations were not in favour of those related to
the vintage year and the name of the wine grape varieties for wines without a GI, given the
difficulties in ensuring effective control and given that such particulars would risk lowering
quality level. Some delegations requested that further optional particulars be foreseen in
H)TRADE WITH THIRD COUNTRIES
25.Some delegations considered that import licences should remain obligatory and within the
Council's competence, while export licences could be Commission competence. Other
delegations expressly supported the proposal. Some delegations did not agree that imports
could be produced in accordance with oenological practices recommended by the OIV but not
authorised by the Community.
26.Unlawful plantings planted after 1 September 1998: some delegations stressed the fact that
the possibility given to the Member States to impose penalties after 31 December 2008 on
producers who have not complied with the grubbing-up obligation, would have harmful
consequences on the current penalties regime.
27.Transitional planting rights regime and its liberalisation from 2014: many delegations
criticised the proposal to decide already at this stage to liberalise the planting rights regime
after 2013, since the market situation in 5 years' time and the consequences of the proposed
grubbing-up scheme were not yet known. Most of these delegations were also concerned that
liberalisation could jeopardise the producers of quality wines and the social fabric in sensitive
rural areas. Some other delegations expressly supported liberalisation. One of these
28.Grubbing-up of 200 000 ha over five years: some delegations supported the proposed
scheme as a tool to achieve a more balanced market while indicating that they would have
preferred if it had covered a more extended area as was envisaged by the Commission in its
2006 Communication5. Many other delegations expressed serious concern about this measure
outlining its potentially negative impact in the sensitive areas and on the environment and
questioning whether it would achieve a balanced market, especially in the context of an open
market and also taking into account the proposed liberalisation of the planting rights regime
after 2013. Some of these delegations considered that the substantial funds involved could be
better allocated to other more efficient and/or constructive measures. A large number of
delegations considered that Member States needed more flexibility to limit the scheme in
order to preserve sensitive areas and to protect the environment, while some other delegations
considered that too many exemptions from the grubbing-up scheme were foreseen and
considered these would undermine the measure.
29.Referring to the payment entitlements for areas grubbed-up eligible under the Single Payment
Scheme, one delegation considered that the amount should be fixed by the Member State at
the Community level and not at the regional level; another delegation considered that the
proposed ceiling of EUR 350/ha was too low.
30.Two delegations were not in favour of granting the possibility to the Member States to grant
complementary national aid for grubbing-up.
burden entailed by the obligation for the producers to declare to the competent national
authorities each year the quantities produced and marketed. They considered that the
producers cannot be expected to take on obligations in the absence of market measures or
advantages for themselves.
33.Management committee procedure. Some delegations had reservations about the proposed
management committee procedure since under Article 2 b) of Decision 1999/468/EC the
regulatory committee procedure would be the appropriate procedure for measures to be
adopted by the Commission concerning Title III, Chapters I (General rules), II (Oenological
practices), III (DOs and GIs), IV (Labelling) and their related Annexes. Another delegation
considered that a specific management committee apart from the Single Management
Committee should be set up to deal with all wine issues.6
34.Sanctions in case of non-compliance with the communication requirements. Some
delegations had a substantial reserve on such sanctions given that the deadlines set for the
administration are not reasonable.
K)INFORMATION CAMPAIGNS ON RESPONSIBLE/MODERATER WINE CONSUMPTION
35.Some delegations could not support this proposal, considering that it is incompatible with
Article 4(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on health claims. One delegation could not
L)EXTENSION OF THE SINGLE PAYMENT SCHEME (SPS) TO THE WINE SECTOR
36.Most delegations welcomed the extension of the SPS to the wine sector. Some delegations
expressed reserves on method of calculation of the reference amount. Further to the
numerous questions raised by many delegations on the functioning of the system, the
Presidency requested the Commission to provide a non paper on the operation of the system
proposed. Some delegations doubted whether budget neutrality could be ensured.
M)TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS
37.Transitional provisions. Some delegations stressed the need for transitional rules especially
in the first year of the reform.
38.Entry into force and applicability. Delegations repeated their concerns on the application of
Articles 5 to 8 as from 30 April 2008, underlining the need for a legal basis in the Council
Regulation before implementing rules at Commission and at national level could be worked