Allegrini 2018

Federvini is worried that the EU Commission’s “Cancer Plan” criteria will penalize wine

The report on the fight against cancer has not yet been approved, but the consequences on taxation and promotion could be extremely severe
The consequences of the “European Beating Cancer Plan” for wine

Micaela Pallini, president of Federvini, commented on the European Commission’s latest decisions, saying, “even before the European Parliament actually approves the report on the Plan to Fight Cancer (it will be voted on no earlier than February 2022), the European Commission is already using that document, in its most radical version, to establish criteria and guidelines as the basis of important legislative initiatives of the Union. We are still convinced that judiciousness will prevail and that the Plenary Assembly of the European Parliament will modify the text. As it reads now, though, it would represent a serious blow to the reputation of our products and, more generally, to the diversity of food cultures that make our continent unique in the world. We are deeply concerned about the attitude the European Commission has taken and therefore, we have asked the Italian government to avoid further errors, such as the one it made last week, when it did not oppose the approval of the criteria that penalize the wines, liqueurs and spirits sector, which are truly excellent Made in Italy products famous around the world”. The Commission has already given a mandate to a consultancy company to conduct a mapping of the status quo in the field of taxing alcoholic beverages, in order to define a new fiscal policy, tending to increase the level of taxation on alcoholic beverages in line with the recommendations contained in the European Beating Cancer Plan. All this and in less than a week after the Special Commission of the European Parliament voted on the policy report, which, to date, does not contemplate any difference between consumption and abuse. Instead, though, it presents radical, indiscriminate and indistinct recommendations, such as proposals for tax increases and severe restrictions in terms of promotion, sponsorship and labeling.

As if that were not enough, last week the European Commission approved the 2022 work plan on the horizontal promotion of the various agricultural sectors. The indications contained in the European Beating Cancer Plan will be taken as references among the criteria with which to assign scores to the promotion projects presented. This is the way to discourage projects intended to promote wines, liqueurs and spirits because they will not be awarded additional points. Unfortunately”, underlined Federvini, “our Ministry of Agriculture did not oppose the European document, and we o not know whether it was due to inattention or misunderstanding the stakes. The programming and allocation of funds for the 2022 horizontal dossiers promotion represents just the first of many legislative documents that will be presented in the coming months. These dossiers will include the new regulation on horizontal promotion, the new rules on labeling, as well as a broader proposal to revise the taxation of alcoholic beverages, which unfortunately risks being highly punitive.

“If our Country System does not put up a united and determined battle, aimed at building alliances with other Mediterranean countries, within a few years we seriously will run the risk that our drinks will be considered socially unsustainable and therefore heavily penalized”, added Micaela Pallini. “The last parliamentary session will take place in January and it will be to change the text of the report on the European plan to fight cancer in the European Parliament. At the same time, however, the World Health Organization will be entering the last phase of negotiations on the plan of action to combat alcohol, which provides for the same measures as the European document has already submitted. Instead, we think that, in vigorously combating all forms of abuse and incorrect consumption, we must defend our approach; that is, the Mediterranean model of moderate and responsible consumption, part of that culture of conviviality that the entire world recognizes”.

“It will be necessary to coordinate various ministries involved on this dossier”, explained Vittorio Cino, General Manager of Federvini, “at least the Ministry of Agricultural Policies, alongside the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, there should be a control room to elaborate the Italian strategy to be developed on European and International tables to coordinate the ways in which our country’s position is expressed, avoiding inattention, absences, underestimating dossiers and apparently speakers. We are hoping for a committed, continuous and consistent position on the part of the entire Government led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi”.

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