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Minister Židan: "Respect for the acquis communautaire is of key importance for the existence and future of the EU"

Brussels, 12 January 2017 – The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Dejan Židan, today met with the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, due to the announcement that the European Commission is to adopt a delegated act to allow Croatia to use the name Teran for its wine. The Commissioner confirmed that the European Commission instituted the procedure for drafting the delegated act, and in turn Minister Židan expressed the strict opposition of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia to such action. In his opinion, this is an inadmissible decision and action by the European Commission, which, by adopting this decision five years after the accession negotiations with Croatia, is acting in opposition to its own acquis, disregarding its observance, and raising serious doubt as to whether the acquis communautaire is still binding. "An illegal practice, such as the existence and sale of wine under the name Teran, cannot be legalised by means of a delegated act adopted by the Commission." According to the Minister, the Commission thereby sent a message to Member States that there is no equality in the EU and that the rules do not apply equally to everyone. It thus opened a dangerous chapter and introduced the possibility of a breach of regulations that will affect EU citizens. Furthermore, Minister Židan added that this has now also opened the door to requests and wishes for changes regarding other forms of protection. In view of such intention communicated by the Commissioner regarding the adoption of the delegated act by the European Commission, Slovenia will take all measures to safeguard the full protection of Teran wine.

The meeting between Agriculture Minister Dejan Židan and European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan was requested by the Slovenian Minister due to the announcement that the European Commission is to adopt a delegated act to grant Croatia a derogation in the use of the name Teran for its wine. It is well known that last year the European Commission informed the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of its intention to adopt a legal act granting Croatia a derogation in the use of the name Teran despite recognising Slovenia's legitimacy in protecting Teran. The Government responded uniformly and requested a meeting between Minister Židan and the Commissioner to inquire about the Commission's intentions. Minister Židan presented the position of the Slovenian Government on this issue to the Commissioner. "The EU's legal protection of Teran wine produced in the Slovenian Kras region was recognised in compliance with the EU rules and regulations." Minister Židan said that the main message to Commissioner Hogan would be that in its decisions the Commission should be aware how extremely important this issue is for Slovenia in terms of both content and politics. "The right to protection is part of the acquis communautaire; Slovenia does not wish the acquis to be undermined and will thus undertake everything necessary to ensure compliance with the EU legislation. Teran is of utmost importance for the survival and existence of the people inhabiting the Kras region." Minister Židan again presented to Commissioner Hogan all documents and materials that have recently been submitted to the European Commission and to which Slovenia has not received a reply. "The Commissioner’s attention has been drawn to suspicions that during the accession negotiations between Croatia and the EU commitments were made concerning the name of Teran wine in favour of Croatia." If such allegations are true, the Minister said, this would be a major scandal and leave a huge stain on the reputation of the Commission. To this end, I expressed Slovenia's expectations that the Commission will act fairly and in compliance with all legal and moral principles and conduct. "I would like to clarify the situation, since this is an issue which in the future will define Slovenia's position within the EU."

 

After the meeting, Minister Židan stated that years ago the citizens of Slovenia decided to become part of the EU because we believed that the EU legislation would protect us and ensure that we are able to preserve all special features, characteristics, and the language of our country. He believes that in these times, when Euroscepticism is on the rise, we and primarily key EU institutions such as the European Commission should make every effort to increase the trust of citizens in the community that otherwise ensures our safety, welfare, and ample opportunities. In his opinion, such actions of the Commission will undermine one of the key values holding such a large community together, namely trust in the functioning of the EU. With its actions, the EU should protect its members, citizens and their characteristics and special features. Failing this, Minister Židan says, the scepticism of citizens towards the weakened image of the EU will increase and erode trust in the EU.

 

Slovenia will take all necessary measures to safeguard the full protection of Teran wine and to this end it will use all legal and political means at its disposal. This case will be presented to all EU Member States, the EU Council, the Members of the European Parliament and the general public. The question of the Commission overstepping its powers as regards the adoption of the delegated act and all other elements will be argued before the European Court of Justice and other competent institutions.

 

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Statement by Minister Dejan Židan prior to  meeting with Commissioner Phil Hogan

Statement by Minister Dejan Židan after  meeting with Commissioner Phil Hogan

 

 

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