1 July, 2014 – A report published today by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) reveals that the need for an investment and promotion measures specific to the wine sector is not justified. The sector already enjoys support from the rural development programme. From a public health perspective, taxpayers money channeled to production and promotion of alcohol is a clear clash with EU policies designed and implemented to reduce alcohol consumption in Europe and beyond.
One of EPHA’s member organisations – Eurocare – has issued a press release on the occasion of the launch of the report: EU wasting tax payers money in wine subsidies?
Read the European Court of Auditors press release: Impact of EU investment and promotion support for the competitiveness of the wine sector not clearly demonstrated, say EU Auditors.
See also a related ECA report on the wine sector: The reform of the common organisation of the market in wine: Progress to date.
Member States spent € 522 million in EU funds on promotion measures between 2009 and 2013. For 2014-2018, there has been a large increase in funds allocated to the Member States for this measure (€1.16 billion to the EU-27). EPHA (as part of the EPHAC’s activity) replied to the consultation on the Commission’s proposal Promoting the Tastes of Europe back in 2012 where we expressed our concerns about promoting agricultural and food products of health-damaging value – wine and spirits being one of those examples.
One of the recommendations issued by ECA is that promotion measures should not be financed by the EU budget – which EPHA supports. In addition, we do not see it fair, socially and health sustainable to invest in wine production measures as well. If anything, such measures could be taken at national level, although we would strongly recommend EU Member States to align such initiatives with their national health promotion and disease prevention priorities, bearing in mind morbidity and mortality (including social and economic burdens) linked to alcohol consumption everywhere in Europe.