€ 510 million for restructuring and conversion of vineyards
The Commission has agreed to an indicative budget of € 510 million to wine producing Member States for the restructuring and conversion of vineyards in the 2007/2008 marketing year. The objective of this system is the adaptation of production to market demand.
It covers the following measures: varietal conversion, relocation of vineyards and improvements to vineyard management techniques. The system does not cover the normal renewal of vineyards which have come to the end of their natural life.
Commenting on the decision, Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development said: "Improving the quality of the wine we produce is a top priority if we are to fend off the challenge posed by New World wine producers. This restructuring programme has played a useful role since 1999. But it is clear that more is needed. That is why a profound reform of the Common Market Organisation for wine is necessary. I hope we can reach agreement on this reform at the December meeting of EU agriculture ministers."
Under the Council Regulation on the common organisation of the market in wine from 1999, Member States can obtain annual payments for restructuring and conversion of a set number of hectares of vineyards. The Commission grants the subsidies in line with each Member State's share of the total EU area under vines and objective criteria accommodating particular situations and needs.
The Commission has now adopted a decision fixing, for the 2007/2008 marketing year and in respect of a certain number of hectares, an indicative financial allocation by Member State. The available budget is € 510 million. Since 1999, when financial support for restructuring and conversion was introduced, € 3 billion have been allocated to the wine producing Member States.