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Minister Židan: "The Commission's stance on Teran wine undermines the reputation of and trust in EU institutions"

Ljubljana, 21 December 2016 – The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Dejan Židan, today responded to the information concerning the Commission's current stance towards the developments regarding the protection of Teran wine. In his statement to the media, Minister Židan said that the European Commission had announced the preparation of a delegated act allowing Croatian winemakers a derogation in the use of the name Terrano for labelling wine even though Slovenia had registered the name of the red wine made in the Slovenian Kras Region as a protected designation of origin. Such dangerous moves undermine the reputation of the European Commission in Slovenia, Minister Židan stressed.

 

According to the information received today by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food (MAFF), the European Commission has announced that it will grant Croatia a derogation from the applicable acquis communautaire more than three and a half years after Croatia's accession to the EU. Minister Židan said that by such a decision the Commission would create a serious precedent since it would bypass the institute of the accession negotiations entrusted to the Commission by EU Member States and also conducted by the Commission on their behalf. "A candidate country may apply for a derogation from the acquis but it is required that both the Commission and all Member States present their views on such a request and, subsequently, adopt a common position towards negotiating such requests. Croatia should have applied for a permanent derogation concerning the Teran labelling during accession negotiations," Minister Židan stressed. He claims that the European Commission has thus legalised Croatia's violations and the lack of action of the competent Croatian authorities against such violations, of which the MAFF has repeatedly and officially warned the Commission.

 

He also believes that in terms of content, the Commission's decision – which in this particular case gives greater weight to the labelling of the grape variety Teran than to the registration of Teran as a protected designation of origin, which has been recognised in the EU for more than a decade – calls into question one of the EU’s key priorities within the Common Agricultural Policy, namely the development, encouragement and promotion of protected designations of origin, to which it also provides a significant share of public funding. "Should the delegated act be adopted, Slovenia will use all legal means to preserve the full protection of Teran wine, challenge the act before the EU Council and the European Parliament and file an action before the European Court of Justice." Minister Židan also pointed out that Slovenia's actions regarding the name Teran as a PDO have always been clear and transparent. "We will continue our efforts and do everything to protect the interests of winegrowers whose legitimate expectations would be violated – by filing an action and by promoting Teran, whose PDO remains only Slovenian," he concluded.

 

The president of the Kras consortium of Teran producers, Boris Lisjak, underlined at a news conference that Teran was protected in 2004, as many families make a living from it. He wondered why after so many years of protection the case had been re-opened since the decision had already been adopted. "We have protected Teran and the protection was timely and complete," he said.

 

Oenologist Miran Vodopivec also expressed his indignation, saying that during the preparations to protect Teran Slovenia's arguments were based on history, ecology, pedology, tradition and cultural heritage, which Croatia, despite all its efforts, was not able to demonstrate. He wondered about the credibility of EU institutions, concluding: "We should not stop at this point since we have enough supporting arguments and facts to do the utmost to protect Teran."

 

 

Marjan Colja of the winery Vinska klet Kras said that Teran producers were outraged at the EU's decision. He explained that the current Commissioner and the President of the European Commission have already been invited to the Kras to be presented the facts. However, the invitation has received no reply, which "shows the ignorant attitude of the Commission towards the inhabitants of the Kras." Therefore, in his words, the state has no other choice but to file a lawsuit.

 

 

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