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The EU wine sector welcomes the referral of minimum unit pricing in Scotland to the EU Court of Justice

Brussels, 30th April 2014 – The European Wine Companies Committee (CEEV) has welcomed today the decision by the Court of Session in Edinburgh to refer the minimum unit pricing (MUP) case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

From the outset we said that, as we believed MUP was contrary to European Union law, it was likely in the end to go to the European Court. We believe MUP would be illegal under European Union law, including under the specific rules of the EU Agricultural policy for the wine sector that explicitly prevent Member States from interfering with wine prices. It would be unjustified, disproportionate, and ineffective in tackling alcohol misuse, while it would damage the wine sector in Europe and overseas.

“We are pleased that the Court of Session in Edinburgh took a decision to refer these matters to the EU Court of Justice, as they should be decided at European level and not by Scotland alone”, declared José Ramon Fernandez, Secretary general of CEEV. “We remain consistently opposed to MUP as an ineffective and disproportionate measure, incompatible with our EU common rules, that would not allow to tackle harmful use of alcohol, and would penalise responsible consumers. We are confident that our position will be finally upheld through the Court process”.

As background, CEEV believes MUP would be illegal under EU law because it would be a barrier to trade between member states, and cannot be justified on public health grounds. It would also be contrary to the Common Market Organisation for wine under the Common Agricultural Policy – any fixing of the price of wine is illegal. The CJEU has ruled minimum pricing as an illegal restraint on trade in every case since the first one was heard in 1978.

You can read the Opinion of the Court here: https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/2014CSIH38.html

 

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Note to editors:

  • The Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV – www.ceev.eu) and its member national associations represents the wine companies in the industry and trade in the European Union: still wines, aromatised wines, sparkling wines, liqueur wines and other vine products. CEEV brings together 23 national organisations. With more than 7.000 companies, mainly SMEs, and more than 200.000 direct jobs in the EU, its members produce and market the vast majority of quality European wines, with and without a geographical indication, and account for over 90% of European wine exports. With around 8,8 billion € worth of exports every year, the wine sector makes a contribution of over 6 billion € to the EU trade balance.

 

  • The “Wine in Moderation, Art de Vivre” program (WIM – www.wineinmoderation.eu) is the measurable commitment of the whole wine business community to promote moderation and responsibility in the consumption of wines. Building on the values of the Wine Culture, WIM brings an effective and specific contribution to the reduction of alcohol-related harm, founded on science-based information, broad-based education and sector self-regulation. The WIM programme represents the wine sector’s contribution to the European Commission’s Alcohol and Health Forum within the framework of the EU Strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol related harm. For more information, please visit www.wineinmoderation.eu