MAFF's response to publication of delegated act by European Commission concerning Teran

Slovenian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food (MAFF) was notified that the European Commission had published a draft delegated act on its Portal for Better Regulation, to approve an exception concerning the labelling of the Teran vine variety for wines produced in Croatian Istria.

In relation to the publication of the draft delegated act by the European Commission to approve an exception concerning the labelling of the Teran vine variety for wines produced in Croatian Istria, MAFF hereby clarifies that on invitation by the EU Agriculture Commissioner, Mr Phil Hogan to present evidence on suspicions of falsification of Croatian documents, during the past week Slovenia resubmitted copies of Croatian application. From this documents, in part that was not blackened up, it is possible to assume that Croatia had submitted a national regulation (Rules) on the list of varieties, dated 17 November 2004, and enclosed thereto, a list of varieties that comprised an amendment implemented in 2010, when Croatia began to differentiate between the varieties of Teran and Refošk (Refosco) and began identifying them as two different varieties.

Slovenia re-enclosed to the above documents a joint research study, which was conducted by the Slovenian and Croatian researchers in 2014, and which proved that the varieties of Refošk and Teran had the same genotype, and therefore, that this was one and same variety and that, for this reason, any segregation of the two varieties was clearly unfounded from the expert point of view.

Likewise, Slovenia repeatedly requested the European Commission to grant it full access to the Croatian application, and to let it be a party to the proceedings with regard to Croatian indications in the application. Slovenia drew attention to the recommendations by the European Ombudswoman to the European Commission, where she finds that the Commission should grant to the Slovenian Teran red wine growers the full access to data in the Croatian application, excluding personal data, and that by failing to comply with the Slovenian wine growers’ request, the Commission acted incorrectly and based on an assumption of being presented with the purportedly factitious documents from the Croatian side.

Based on this Slovenia’s requirement, the President of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, during his visit to Slovenia, assured Slovenia that the Commission would examine the newly surfaced facts.

The European Commissioner, Mr Phil Hogan, communicated to Slovenia in writing that he was familiarised with Slovenia’s concerns, ensuing from Slovenia’s request for full access to documents, and based on relevant recommendations by the European Ombudswoman.
Mr Hogan communicates that the request is being examined and that the Commission will give its response within the deadline; however, as no new elements can be found, which would change the original assessment, he has commissioned the Commission Services to publish the draft delegated act on the Portal for Better Regulation.

Slovenia finds that the Commissioner does not want to get involved in the suspect document forgery and that, to date, he has not provided for the full access to data in the Croatian application. For this reason, Slovenia has already responded accordingly to the Commissioner’s letter.

Slovenia resolutely reiterates that for the exclusive protection of the Slovenian Teran red wine growers, based on substantive reasons and clear demerit in the Commission’s actions, it will deploy all the legitimate means and, if inevitable, even bring an action before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).