The High Level Group on wine is meeting for the first time today, bringing together senior officials from Member States, representatives of the sector and observers of the European Parliament, the Council and Croatia.
Initiated by European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş, the Group will hold four meetings to analyse all aspects of wine planting rights, in response to calls from parts of the wine sector in some Member States not to abolish the wine planting rights system.
In the 2008 wine reform, EU Agriculture Ministers agreed to end to the system of wine planting rights at the end of 2015 - or 2018 if a Member State so decides - as part of a broader package aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the European wine sector.
In his opening remarks to the Group this morning, Commissioner Cioloş underlined the importance of looking to the future rather than remaining focused on the past. "We need a realistic evaluation of what could and could not be a system for managing vineyard areas in the context of today's market realities. In so doing, we must not lose track of 2 key points - the challenge of wine quality, and the challenge of winegrower revenue."
>> Read the Commissioner's speech (in French)