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EU Proposes to Allow Wine Producers to Manage Planting Rights

Sept. 21 (Bloomberg) -- The European Union’s regulatory arm proposed to allow wine producers to manage planting rights for vineyards after restrictions on expanding grape area are scrapped at an EU level.

The plan would mean those involved in making wines with a protected designation of origin, such as producer organizations, would control vine planting, according to an e-mailed copy of a speech today by Jose Manuel Silva Rodriguez, the European Commission’s director general for agriculture.

EU ministers agreed in 2008 to end planting rights as of Jan. 1, 2016, though member states can extend curbs on expansion until 2018. The 27-nation EU produced 59 percent of the world’s wine last year, according to the International Organisation of Wine and Vine, or OIV.

“The main idea is that the management of planting should involve the professionals themselves, which would require an active participation of the major economic actors in the wine industry,” Silva said, according to the speech.

France last year called for wine-planting rights to be maintained, while a report this year by the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee said the rights should be kept at least until 2030.

The commission also proposed a safeguard clause that would allow member states or the EU to freeze vine planting in case predetermined thresholds are exceeded, according to the speech.

“This mechanism would be aimed at avoiding any rapid vineyard expansion that could cause a deterioration of the market situation,” Silva said.

As part of the new system, existing restrictions at a national or regional level would have to go to avoid distortion of competition between EU countries, according to the speech.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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