A range of sectors linked to wine production in Portugal have expressed concerns about the devastating consequences of the mechanism for distributing vine-planting rights that was subject to agreement. Taking account of that and of the progressive liberalisation of the sector:
1. Will the Commission consider the sticky situation currently faced by wine producers, the looming risks to the sector and the calamitous state of other sectors that have already been liberalised, such as the dairy sector?
2. Will it consider the potential cumulative effect of choosing to liberalise several economic sectors?
3. What steps are being taken to assess the impact of the new transition mechanism for the wine production sector, which bears a striking resemblance to the so-called soft landing that preceded the end of the milk quotas and was anything but soft?
As part of the common agricultural policy (CAP) 2013 reform, the European Union (EU) legislator did not liberalise the vine plantings in the EU, but introduced a new system based on vine planting authorisations as from 1 January 2016. This decision addressed the significant concerns expressed by the main wine-producing Member States, the European Parliament and key stakeholder organisations.
The new scheme of authorisations provides Member States with the necessary regulatory tools to prevent an excessively rapid increase in new vine plantings at regional and national level.
In the first year of its implementation, the new system seems to be working well. In most cases, the application for authorisations was lower than the hectares made available for new plantings, and only in a few cases, limited to some regions of some Member States, limits on applications to remain below the maximum 1% yearly growth level of the planted vine areas have been applied. In terms of the management of the scheme, while most Member States chose to allocate the authorisations on a pro rata basis, some Member States, including Portugal, decided to establish further restrictions based on eligibility and priority criteria for the allocation of authorisations among producers.
Overall, according to the information provided by the Member States, the EU wine production and market has been quite stable in the last years. Increasing the competitiveness of the Union wine sector remains a key goal and should be pursued in order to exploit the growing world demand and to increase EU market share, in the interests of producers.