SP: End subsidies to EU wine lake

12 December 2007

SP: End subsidies to EU wine lake

The SP is supporting a proposal from the European Commission to reduce the level of wine production in Europe. SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard, explaining the party's decision, said: “We are paying €700 million per year just to get rid of wine that nobody wants. At some point this has got to stop."

The European Commission is proposing to put a strong damper on European overproduction of wine, which amounts to a surplus of 1.7 billion bottles per year at a total cost to the EU taxpayer of between €600 billion and €700 billion. The Commission's plan is to abolish the buying up of this surplus and limit overproduction, but this is provoking resistance from within the European Parliament.

The SP will oppose every attempt to water down the reform proposals. The party also believes that the Commission's proposal to ban the addition of sugar during wine production is worthy of support. “In regions where the normal production of wine is impossible, such as the Netherlands," said Kartika Liotard, "producers add sugar to their wine in order to bring the alcohol content up to the mark. As far as we're concerned this is too artificial a process. The Commission's measures would lead to the concentration of wine production in those areas most suited to it. The production of poor quality wines would be reduced, and that isn't something to which we are opposed. Dutch winemakers would scarcely notice, as their production is minimal. About 350,000 litres per year is produced, as opposed to 365 million litres which is imported.”

If opponents in the European Parliament succeed in seriously weakening the proposal, the SP will withdraw its support. "This is about an important and fundamental reform," said Liotard. "Adding water to the wine is in this case unacceptable."

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