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Boel signals change of heart on chaptalisation debate

Published:  23 July, 2008

Agricultural Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel has hinted the EU is prepared to re-evaluate its stance on the chaptalisation debate (see Harpers exclusive - Dec 7 issue).

She was speaking to the European Parliament at Strasbourg yesterday for the opening address of 'Time to Choose a Real Wine Sector Reform'.

Boel touched on the three big issues of debate - national envelopes, chaptalisation and the end of the planting rights system - that she felt needed further discussion in organising EU wine reform.

On the second point, Boel admitted the issue had caused a "huge row" in the industry.

She said: "Nevertheless, the status quo does hold a genuine problem to be solved. Aid for enrichment with must cannot continue at the same level and in the same manner: it's old-fashioned, ineffective, costly and trade-distorting support."

However, there was a balance to be met, argued Boel.

"I understand the importance of keeping the balance between enrichment by sugar and must aid in order to arrive at a compromise supported by both southern and northern producers."