No definitive proposal on reform of the wine sector this year — Spain’s agriculture minister has said the European Commission has agreed to put off the politically sensitive move until later next year. Agriculture Commissioner Marian Fischer Boel had intended to unveil her plan in January.
However, a meeting with the 25 ministers produced no firm new date. She sketched out the broad lines in June, suggesting that 12% of the EU’s vineyards be torn up. The aim would be to wipe out over-production and counter-attack against increasing pressures from new world competitors.
Quality produce from the EU is not selling enough, producing what has long been known as Europe’s wine lakes. Too much of it, the commissioner says, is being distilled into alcohol for use other than the table arts, and that with EU subsidies. Brussels is determined to use community aid more effectively, to defend the European wine sector from aggressively marketed foreign imports.