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Commission publishes new vine planting rules

New EU rules for a new scheme of authorisations for vine plantings, allowing for a yearly limited expansion in the EU's wine area, have been published by the European Commission yesterday. As agreed in the 2013 Common Agricultural Policy reform, the new scheme will apply from 1 January 2016, replacing the transitional planting rights regime.

EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Phil Hogan stated: "The new system provides flexibility for the European wine sector to gradually expand production, in response to growing world demand. At the same stage, Member States have a range of safeguards to apply in order to address possible social and environmental risks in specific wine production areas."

A recent external study concluded that, despite growth in the volume and value of EU exports to third countries since 2008 - and a marked improvement in the trade balance -, the EU continues to lose market share on world markets. Furthermore, the total consumption at world level is forecasted to increase up to 2025, while continuing to decrease overall in the EU. Therefore, this market trend shows that the EU wine sector will be increasingly depending on exports in the future.

Yesterday's publication sets out rules for which unanimous agreement was expressed both by the Member States and the European Parliament. They confirm how the Member States should manage (at national level) the system of free, non-transferable planting authorisations. The rules also outline the safeguard mechanism for new plantings – authorisations limited to 1% growth in a Member State's vine surface per year, with options for Member States to apply – where properly justified – growth limits at national or regional level, or for areas with/without geographical indication. The rules also clarify the transition from the current system to the new scheme and how valid planting rights can be converted into authorisations. Rights in the reserve that are not granted to producers by the end of 2015 will cease to exist after that date.

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