Slovenia argued in Brussels on Monday that the case of Teran wine has implications beyond the narrow dispute with Croatia over the use of the name and could undermine the entire system of geographic protection in the EU.
The attack on Teran is an attack on all 1,750 wine protections, Židan told the press after he laid out Slovenia’s case at a meeting of EU agriculture ministers.
One of the Commission’s arguments has been that there are over 50 similar derogations, the benefits of some of which Slovenia enjoys as well.
But Židan said the Teran case was not the same since the other derogations were approved as part of accession talks or as part of negotiations on protection, and were mostly cleared by both countries affected.
“We wanted to inform other countries to be vigilant about the legal aspect of delegated acts…I believe we have reached the goal,” he said.
Slovenia has become embroiled in a dispute with Croatia as well as the European Commission over Teran, a wine produced in the west of the country, after the Commission announced it would grant Croatia a derogation allowing Croatian producers to use the name even though Slovenia had protected it.
Slovenia has argued the derogation is unacceptable; Židan said today it would be the first time in history that the Commission would grant an exemption via a delegated act.
If this continues “all other protections, even if they appear firm, might become the subject of different treatment,” according to the minister.
Delegated acts are non-legislative acts of general application that have been delegated to the Commission and supplement or amend non-essential elements of a legislative act.
Židan suggested reactions by some of his counterparts indicated Slovenia was on the right track and “one step ahead of the Commission”.
“I have to say – and those present told me that – that it has been a long time since there has been such silence during a minister’s speech. All the present delegations listened to Slovenia’s arguments very attentively.”
Židan asked all ministers to precisely study the case and he expects the first feedback at a session of an expert group for wine on Tuesday, when Teran will be on the agenda.
Nevertheless, the minister does not expect that Slovenia could muster the requisite majority to reject the Commission’s delegated act.
Židan did not specify how the case could unwind beyond saying that several officials had told him Slovenia would exploit all legal avenues and get ready to sue the Commission at the EU Court./IBNA
Source: The Slovenia Times