EU fines growers on illegal vine planting
Three countries within the EU have been fined substantial amounts of euros after the EU Commission ruled their efforts to drain the surplus EU wine-lake had been badly undermined.
The EU, which has been controlling vine growing by quotas, and has spent close to €1.1 billion in the last three years by compensating farmers for grubbing-up their vines, has handed out these fines to Italy, Spain and Greece after it was discovered they have been illegally planting new vines.
Spain has been asked to hand back €131.3 million, Italy €98.9 million and Greece €21.3 million, although the latter has 18 months grace as it is already being financially assisted. However, the Commission which plans to liberalise the market by ending its quota scheme in the near future, is coming under pressure from several big producing nations to retain the quotas. The fear is that with the removal of quotas, it will cause a free-for-all that will bring a return to over-production.