8 July 2020 News

Coronavirus: new Commission intervention in support of wine

The European Commission yesterday published a new package of extraordinary measures to support the fruit and vegetable and wine sectors confronted with the effects of the crisis caused by COVID-19.

The wine sector, already severely affected by US tariffs, has been hit by the consequences of the containment measures taken to slow down coronavirus infections, including in particular the closure of the Horeca channel. The relevant exceptional provisions include:

  • Advanced payments of up to 100% of the costs incurred by operators for for on-going distillation and crisis storage operations. This aid will not have to comply with State aid rules.
  • A temporary derogation from EU competition rules: Using Article 222 of the CMO Regulation, the Commission has allowed operators to organise themselves and implement market measures at their level to stabilise the sector for a maximum period of 6 months. Specifically, joint promotion activities, storage by private operators and commonly planned production are authorised;
  • Increased EU contribution: after a previous increase in the EU contribution for all measures in the national support programmes from 50 % to 60 %, the Commission has committed to a further increase of 10 %. The EU contribution will thus reach 70 %.

Besides the wine measures, the fruit and vegetable sector will benefit from additional flexibility, with an increase in EU co-financing rates from 50% to 70% for operational programmes of cooperatives and producer organisations.

Despite the previous set of measures taken to support the agri-food sectors affected by the COVID-19 crisis, “[…] the uncertainties surrounding the scale of the crisis at EU and global level, and a close monitoring of the market has led us to propose a new package of measures for the wine sector”, Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski said. 

In addition, the Commission has recently published two additional calls for proposals under the promotion programmes, aimed at the sectors most affected by the health crisis, including the wine sector. 

Further information: Coronavirus: Commission adopts new exceptional support measures for the wine sector