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ALBA IULIA (Alba - 04/09/2007)
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INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF AREV

Alba-Iulia / Alba / Romania

September 3-5 2007

Position of AREV on the wine CMO reform

RESOLUTION

AREV examined in detail the reform project on Wine CMO that was presented to the Commission last July 4th. AREV can tell that proposals for reorganization of the sector that were unanimously adopted by the political and professional delegates of its 65 member regions were not taken into consideration by the Commission. AREV therefore rejects the presented project and asks the political decision makers to deeply amend it. This even more so as the reactions of the winemaking member States have in majority a negative reaction to it.

That will be the price to pay so the sector can find back the dynamism and competitiveness that it needs in European and International competitions.

AREV is in favour of the Commission’s measure aiming to transfer partially the responsibility of the wine market management to the actors on the regional and national levels and thereby establish a model based on subsidiarity in order to significantly strengthen the responsibility of the Regions.

However, the measures eligible for the national budget are insufficient. AREV demands that the restructuring programmes in force be extended to include measures aiming to optimise the production and market structures, as well as quality management and crisis management.

Certain measures in the current CMO aiming to control surpluses are not reaching the objective set and are in part the cause of structural problems on the market. AREV salutes the Commission’s intention to reform most of the distillation measures.

To control surpluses (crisis management) AREV demands, however, to maintain in the framework of the national budget, distillation measures that would be applicable when the market faces a specific situation and / or exceptional weather conditions.

Similarly, we must continue to take account within this 10% margin of the needs in terms of alcohol of the producers of fortified wines (Port, Xérès, Madera, etc.).

AREV emphasises also the importance of current regulations relating to the elimination of by-products as a qualitative measure.

AREV once again pronounces itself in favour of a control on yields, with regional responsibility granted, in order to reduce wine surpluses in Europe whilst improving quality. This measure, implemented together with the professional organisations, would contribute effectively to relieving the strain on the market.

AREV considers that green harvesting is, in this respect, an inappropriate provision. This measure is uncontrollable and does not allow a rapid reaction to crises and surpluses on the market.

For better knowledge of production and the markets, the Commission cannot make the economy of taking on a “dashboard” of European viticulture. AREV demands once again the set-up of a European Observatory backed by the networking of the regional bodies.

On the other points in the reform, AREV reasserts its stance as follows:

Uprooting

The experience of the last few decades has shown that on an open market (communicating vessels), balance cannot be obtained by reducing production potential but by improving the quality of the product and the competitiveness of operations.

The large sums set aside for compensation for uprooting will be lacking from the budget for positive measures aiming to improve restructuring and competitiveness. These sums are totally disproportionate in comparison with aid for promotion.

Therefore AREV demands that the means provided for voluntary uprooting be allocated to the national budget within a maximum proportion of 30% and that the member states and winegrowing regions have the possibility of managing voluntary uprooting in order to avoid intensive bare wine areas.

Promotion

Promotion and informational campaigns are necessary towards third-party countries, but they must also be directed to a greater degree at the biggest market, namely the EU domestic market. They must integrate communication about the health benefits of moderate, regular consumption of wine.

Oenological practices

The regional diversity in terms of quality, grape varieties and traditional wine-making methods in use today must be respected. This diversity is in itself an essential factor of quality and is an integral part of European winemaking tradition.

AREV is in favour of the recognition of new oenological practices that conform to the OIV, since most member states of the EU are also members of the OIV and as such are involved in the process for decision-making that requires unanimous agreement.

Suppression of the planting rights system

AREV is categorically opposed to the liberalisation of planting rights, both for quality wines and table wines. This would lead inevitably to the replacement and eviction of small and medium-sized operations and to the delocalisation of traditional vineyards to flat country. The result would be an irreparable loss of identity for a great many regions of Europe.

Over the last few decades, the planting rights system has shown itself to be a precious instrument in quality policy and the management of production potential in the EU.

AREV therefore proposes to postpone until 2013, if the market stabilized itself on that date, the decision relating to maintaining, modifying or abolishing this system. The power of decision in the matter must remain at all events with the Council.

AREV maintains that the territorial administrative division being in the best position for the management of planting rights is the Region itself, and therefore asks that as such, the ability is transferred to regional executives.

Transfer of budget to rural development

The implementation of effective measures aiming to improve the quality of wines and the competitiveness of operations, as well as a policy of promotion and information about European wine, requires the maintenance of all current first-pillar financial means. Specific development programs may be planned within the first-pillar.

Furthermore, the joint funding required for eligible second-pillar projects could not be provided by many Regions.

Change to the wine classification system

AREV has always been in favour of the worldwide protection of the designations of origin of European wines. For the recognition and registration of geographical indications and designation of origin, the Commission’s proposal would bring about costly administrative constraints for producers.

AREV is categorically opposed to a change to the current classification system for quality wines and table wines. Today’s regulations allow the consumer to differentiate easily quality wines and table wines. The suggested change would therefore be to the detriment of the consumer.

Change to the labelling rules

On the pretext of simplification, the labelling rules specific to wine are abandoned in favour of horizontal measures concerning the labelling and presentation of foodstuffs (2000/13/EC) and pre-packaging in volume (75/106/EEC), as well as in favour of the directive harmonising the legislation of the member states regarding brands (89/104/EC). AREV is firmly opposed to this. It reminds those concerned that the labelling rules have recently been rewritten following deliberations that have lasted for years. AREV therefore proposes that the Commission plans at the earliest for 2013 a re-examination of the current designation law.

The current labelling rules which include less compulsory wording than optional wording, must remain specifically for wine. They are, in the opinion of AREV, in no way an obstacle to clear, simple, truthful labels for the consumer.

Transfer of competences from the Council to the Commission

Taking into account the fact that the implementation of regulations born from the reform has political and social consequences in most of UE, AREV is hostile to any transfer of competence to the Commission.

Resolution adopted on September 4th 2007 in Alba Iulia, Romania.