Spain, France and Italy warn that the current political and economic situation threatens the future of the wine sector
On 13 and 14 September, the Italian city of Conegliano became the European wine capital by hosting the meeting of the Contact Group of the national wine associations of Spain, France and Italy. This forum provides a framework for dialogue between the three countries’ representative organisations to reach common positions on the main issues of interest to the wine sector.
During the meeting the associations discussed the market situation at a time of special global uncertainty. The table first revealed the different scenarios that since 2019 the three countries have had to face as retaliatory measures on American wines in the Boeing-conflictAirbus, the pandemic with the consequent closure of the hospitality sector, the difficulties to find markets in the post-pandemic period.
In addition, on the one hand, the increase in production costs, inflation and the scarcity and increase in the cost of auxiliary materials aggravated by the effects of Russia’s unjustified aggression against Ukraine, and, on the other, the increasingly evident impact of climate change on production. Therefore, the organizations warn about the danger of the economic and social sustainability of the wine sector and ask for support in two points:
- Compensation for increased energy costs;
- Exceptional support measures and flexibility similar to those introduced to address the complexities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organizations of the three countries also expressed their great concern about the new wave of «prohibitionism». The coming months will be crucial, as the European Commission is working on legislative initiatives affecting the wine sector and, in particular, on the revision of the Labelling Regulation. The delegations therefore asked the meeting to continue paying attention to the fight against alcohol abuse, respecting the will expressed by the European Parliament in its BECA report, and to avoid adopting disproportionate rules, Such as the proposal for a regulation on Irish labelling, which is a threat to the wine sector and everything it represents in Europe, such as traditions, the European way of life or gastronomic culture, of which wine is an integral part.
In particular, the associations gathered call on their governments to:
- Promotion policy should be preserved as a tool to ensure the competitiveness of wine;
- Do not amend the rules on nutritional labelling and list of wine ingredients already approved in CAP regulations, including electronic labelling
- Encourage the other Member States and ask the European Commission to oppose the Irish proposal on health warnings by submitting a reasoned opinion under the TRIS procedure for the prevention of barriers to trade.
The organizations participating in the meeting were:
- For Spain: the Asociación Empresarial Vinos de España (AEVE), the Asociación de Jóvenes Agricultores (ASAJA), Cooperativas Agro-Alimentarias de España, the Spanish Conference of Wine Regulatory Councils (CECRV), the Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Agricultores y Ganaderos (COAG), the Spanish Wine Federation (FEV), the Spanish Wine Interprofessional Organization (OIVE) and the Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers (UPA).
- For France: the Associazioni FNSEA – Commission Viticole, La Coopération agricole – Vignerons coopérateurs de France (VCF) and Vignerons indépendants de France;
- For Italy: Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane Agroalimentari, Assoenologi, CIA – Agricoltori Italiani, Coldiretti, Confagricoltura, Copagri, Federdoc, Federvini, Fivi and Unione Italiana Vini;