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Publication of documents in connection with Croatia’s application in the case of Teran

Luxembourg – Ljubljana, 4 March 2017 - On the fringe of the EU Agriculture Council meeting, yesterday in Luxembourg Minister Židan met with the European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan. The Minister again invited the Commissioner that the Commission disclose the documents with which Croatia formally requested the Commission for the granting derogation in the use of the name Teran, so that Slovenia, who is the holder of the protected designation of Teran wine, would be able to receive information, decide upon the issue and respond. Today, the documents were published by the Croatian Ministry of Agriculture on its webpage.

The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Dejan Židan, yesterday met with the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan. The Minister again extended an invitation to the Commissioner that the Commission submit the documents with which Croatia formally requested that the Commission grant an exemption regarding the use the name of Teran wine. The Commissioner said that the Commission would have no reservations regarding the publication. Today, the documents were published by the Croatian Ministry of Agriculture. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of the Republic of Slovenia will in detail examine the documents and present its position on the issue. It is well known that on 17 March the European Commission, on the portal for better legislation, published a draft of the delegated act for granting Croatia an exception for the use of the name Teran. By 12 April, the date when the public debate is scheduled to close, the expert group has to verify whether all the documents are disclosed, which arguments were used and prepare the opposing arguments and disclose all possible misleading actions and statements. Irrespective of the abovementioned, Slovenia is still waiting for an answer from the European Commission regarding the suspicion of forged documents, which were publicly disclosed at the end of February this year and about which the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, was informed at the time of his visit to Slovenia.

 

It is well known that already in 2014 Slovenia requested permission to inspect all the documents with which Croatia formally requested this exception and which Slovenia was prevented from viewing, despite its several subsequent calls, requests and warnings. After the request submitted to the first Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans in 2015, Slovenia received documents that were redacted in most part. A possible disclosure of business secrets was mentioned as the reason why the data in the received documents were redacted. This was recently rejected in the report of the European Ombudsman, who called upon the Commission to disclose the documents to Slovenia, who is a party in the procedure, since it is the holder of the protected designation of Teran. In March 2017, Minister Dejan Židan again wrote to the Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, saying that, despite the recommendation of the European Ombudsman, Slovenia has not yet received the required documents containing Croatia's application for consideration, which would enable Slovenia to effectively exercise its right to defence. After the yesterday's meeting with the Commissioner Hogan, the first shift was made, since Croatia published the documents today.

 

Slovenia will take all the necessary measures to safeguard the full protection of Teran, and to this end it will use all legal and political means at its disposal. It is well known that the Commission, as previously constituted, agreed with Slovenia's arguments; however, for reasons unknown to us, the process of adopting the delegated act was relaunched, flying in the face of all rules and the principle of transparency. Already in 2013, in the European Parliament, the European Commission clearly answered that the protection of Teran was not included in the Association Agreement with Croatia and that the Commission received no request for the protection of these designations of origin from the Croatian authorities.