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REIMS (Champagne-Ardenne - 30/05/2008)
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Resolution on EU Wine CMO Reform

REIMS DECLARATION

Adopted at AREV Plenary Session of 30 May 2008 in the presence of some 120 political and professional delegates from 50 regions in 17 European countries

The Assembly of European Winegrowing Regions (AREV) took due note of the difficult political compromise achieved in the face of the Commission by the 27 Agriculture Ministers on 19 December last. This compromise will have considerable consequences for European viticulture, which are certain to disrupt the equilibriums that have come to be established over the decades

MEPs had largely supported the standpoints of AREV in the Castiglione Report passed one week earlier by an overwhelming majority. In so doing, the European Parliament confirmed that age-old traditions are more of an asset in the long term for European wines than imitating the winemaking practices of a few New World countries, whose limits are already beginning to be revealed on the market.

The winegrowing sector in Europe is of considerable economic weight and its activities are an essential feature of our Regions, fully justifying maintaining a specific Wine CMO.

The draft application regulation proposed by the Commission raises fears of some discrepancies in the transposition of the political compromise, especially as territorial specifics are not taken into consideration in its preparation. AREV therefore calls on the Member States to make sure that the free-market proposals rejected by the Council of Ministers are not reintroduced indirectly.

AREV reasserts the following positions most particularly:

- AREV reasserts its opposition to ending planting rights, and asks the Member States to decide on the repeal of this system only after the interim report in 2012;

- AREV has always spoken out against any reference to grape variety or vintage on labels of table wines, because such a measure goes against the efforts on quality desired by the Commission itself and induces the risk of confusion among consumers. It remains critical of this decision and declares that it is in favour of a return to the former regulations. It demands that the Member States and Commission at the very least conduct careful checks on the accuracy of such indications and make an attentive examination of the impact of this system on designation of origin wines, with a view to modifying this decision if appropriate;

- AREV stresses that the controlled age-old winemaking practice that is part of our winegrowing tradition is an asset on the market. Authorising new practices is therefore only justifiable if they present a general interest to the community, producers and consumers. In no case must they be modified to suit the interests of pressure groups. This is a political competence and must remain in the hands of the Council of Ministers;

- AREV reasserts that the uprooting programme must not result in the disappearance of historic vineyards of importance in socio-economic, landscape and biodiversity terms, thereby destroying the specific nature of whole territories, notably in steep winegrowing areas;

- AREV calls on the Commission, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, to accept the methods in force in the Member States for measuring winegrowing surface areas. A new system would involve unacceptable bureaucracy and costs, without mentioning the danger than new planting rights might be induced indirectly.

AREV reasserts its attachment to the principle of subsidiarity and calls on the Agriculture Ministers to take account of achievements and experience in regional and national subsidy management, in accordance with the respective powers of the different levels. It calls on them to be particularly vigilant regarding the transposition by the Commission of the political compromise they settled on, and to ensure that no irrevocable measures or provisions are enacted.