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STUTTGART (Baden-Württemberg - 21/04/2007)
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Position of the AREV (AEWR) on the Wine CMO


Representing some 65 European winegrowing regions from 15 countries, AREV speaks on behalf of the political leaders as well as the professional representatives in its member regions and therefore on behalf of the great majority of those in charge of European Viticulture.

Need for a reform

AREV stands behind the effort of the Commission that wills to change the wine market in the European Union and within growing globalisation to adapt this market to the demands of competing new world operators. In this respect, it is suited to reinforce and develop the particularities of the European Wine policy, particularly its multi-functionality. AREV demands, due to the specific wine growing character, through reallocating today’s budget – the implementation of an offensive and coherent policy that will give wine producers and all those involved in the market a legal frame that would provide security in the long term. AREV defends the cardinal principles that were stated by the European Parliament in its position concerning the reform of the Common Market Organization.

Specifics of viticulture within agriculture

AREV points out that viticulture and wine market show out a lot of particularities which make necessary a specific market organization. The instruments of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) among which the decoupling of subsidies are not adapted to the requirements of a dynamic sector turned towards the market as winegrowing is. AREV therefore refuses that wine market stands under a common unit market good for all agricultural productions as well as the transfer of means from the first to the second pillar. In many European Regions, viticulture is governed by a professional independent agricultural organization which requires specific regulations.

Diversity of Regional Viticulture in Europe

Viticulture and wine shape and preserve landscapes of many European Regions. The great diversity of European viticulture cannot adequately be taken into account by a centralised market organization. This is why AREV demands that according to major principles of subsidiarity and increased responsibility, room to manoeuvre should be given to regions and to professional regional organizations for the management of their wine growing policy : Regions must be able to co-manage the distribution of European subsidies keeping in sight the objective of the common agricultural policy. This is an essential provision that acknowledges the European regional diversity and that promotes it as an asset of the European model.

Likewise, European winemaking methods being quite diverse and the result of longstanding traditions, they must be maintained while examining according to OIV recommendations : innovation practices in terms of interest to consumers, improvement of quality, differentiation of products and reinforcement of competition with wine from Third countries.

Planting regulations

AREV refuses liberalization of planting in Europe, because it would lead to the end of hard wine growing areas and to a delocalization towards better areas. That would mean a non repairable loss of identity to numerous European regions.

Necessity for a viticulture observatory

AREV reiterates its demand asking for a European viticulture Observatory in charge, in all the Regions, of the evolution of planted areas, of production, of marketing, of consumption as well as of the socio-economic impact of viticulture on rural zones. This observatory will permit to prevent crisis that threaten European market and based on results of market studies to develop promising strategies to European Viticulture. For its implementation, it is suited to benefit from existing institutions and from their networking.

Communication

The Commission must give priority to creating the conditions to improve and enhance competitiveness and sustainability of the European winegrowing sector both on the internal market and on the world market. Among these attacking measures must feature supporting efforts to improve quality and active communication policy – in Europe and in the world – in favour of European wine and promoting the health benefits of regular, moderate wine consumption (WHO standards) as shown by many scientific and medical studies. This is also in line with the demands of the Commission and of the Parliament for a responsible use of alcohol and gives reason to public campaigns for wine promotion.

European model

It is particularly important to reinforce the assets and strategies of European wine producers. Among them is the unique tradition of European viticulture, the protection of corresponding ecosystem, as well as the economic, cultural and tourist importance of the sector, which is based on the tight link between the wine grower, the land and the designation of origin with its regulations. All this is reflected in quality wine designation. In this respect, it is not wise to change the table wine presentation because that would lead to weaken the position of quality wines which take benefit from geographical indication. Levelling and standardization of wines as recommended by the Commission following the model from New World producers, does not create a long term solution for Europe.

Viticulture and winemaking sector play an essential economic role in many European Regions. It is specifically the case in Regions where no alternative can be found for agricultural production, mostly in mountain and sloping areas. The wine sector creates jobs and added value to the Region. Vineyards shape landscapes and create an important element in rural cultural life. Because of that, they are essential to the tourist attraction for the Region. The economic importance of viticulture goes far beyond the sole product from wine selling.

Uprooting

AREV is opposed to extensive uprooting of planted areas. Uprooting measures are meaningful only where low quality wines with no market issue are produced. Uprooting must be for the grower a voluntary measure. It is up to the States and the Regions to give the framework. Its financing might be part of the national budget as planned in the future common market organization. Besides States and Regions cannot implement uprooting programs without specific knowledge of planted areas and without specific measures that assure that all illegal plants are uprooted.

Minimum alcohol content

Wine, as defined in AREV Wine Charter, is the product of vine. Its alcohol content results from the ripeness of the plant and the removal of minimum alcoholic content on harvesting will have a detrimental effect on wine quality.

Must and wine imports

It is essential that must and concentrated must do not become a raw material destined for producing anonymous wines. AREV strongly refuses that import and winemaking of must from third countries should make up European wines – as for example mixing wines from third countries with EU ones.

Distillation

Emergency distillation no longer fulfils its initial function as a crisis management instrument. However, the subsidies granted for the distillation of by-products, mostly lees, are part of the wine market protection against fraud and make up an important environmental measure. AREV also favours the possibility to eliminate by-products through controlled composting as it is already done in certain member States.

Subsidies related to distillation of potable spirit can gradually be reduced and disappear altogether after a few years. Traditional production of muted wines benefiting from designations of origin should continue to be taken into consideration.

World Trade Organization

AREV is in favour of opening up world’s markets. As the absolute leader in the wine market, European Union must act as such and use its position of strength. The same market rules must apply to all. The European Union must ensure that this principle is applied not only in the CMO reform but also in bilateral or multilateral agreements. In particular, it must strongly fight customs barriers, tax disadvantages and administrative protectionism. The European Union must also make sure to defend, in Europe and in third Countries, geographical indications and designations of origin thanks to the creation of a multilateral register for wines and wine spirits within the frames of WTO and TRIPS agreements.

Institutional competence

AREV is categorically opposed to any transfer of competence from the Council to the Commission.

Resolution unanimously adopted on 21 of April 2007, during Plenary Session in Stuttgart.