Wine sector: the crisis and a strategy for the future
Today, 2 December 2020, French, Italian and Spanish wine cooperatives have organized a public debate together with the European Think Tank Farm Europe on the future of wine sector.
Angel Villafranca, President of the Spanish agrifood cooperatives introduced the seminar underlining the role of the Spanish, French and Italian cooperatives which represent more than 50% of all European wine production.
Afterwards, Pau Roca, Director General of International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) and Denis Pantini, Director of Nomisma’s Wine Monitor, analyzed the situation of the international and European wine markets following the Covid crisis.
The second part was more political and saw the intervention of the Italian Minister of Agriculture Teresa Bellanova and the Deputy General Director of the Ministry of Agriculture in France Philippe Declaud as well as the interventions of the members of the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament Clara Aguilera, Paolo De Castro and Anne Sander and to conclude the vision of the Commission with Maciej Golubiewski, head of cabinet of the Commissioner for Agriculture and Irène Tolleret, President of the Wine intergroup in the European Parliament.
The debate showed that emergency measures taken last spring in order to try to balance the supply and face the declining of the world demand were necessary but not enough. These measures were financed by the margins that the Member States were able to free up on national support programs, supplemented with national aid in some Members States. Faced with the need to react promptly, and to respond quickly to the effects of the health crisis, in a large number of wine-growing countries it was decided to postpone some of the structuring investments envisaged in 2020.
As this health crisis continues, 2021 is shaping up not as a year of economic recovery for European wines, but rather as a year of vigilance to avoid excessive market imbalances. At the same time, European industries need to be able to continue planning a future that necessarily combines environmental performance and economic performance. Thus, for 2021 as well, emergency measures will continue to be needed.
However, these emergency measures instead must be part of a coherent multi-year plan for the relaunch and for building a strong, long-lasting and resolutely sustainable European wine sector.
First of all, an economic recovery for the next three years is needed to bring again the level of consumption as before the crisis. In fact, it will take at least 2 years to relaunch the dynamics of demand. The crisis has profoundly disrupted consumer habits, making it more difficult and along the path of complete recovery. It will therefore be necessary to act both on internal consumption and focus on exports.
At the same time, the economic crisis cannot be an excuse to forget the ecological transition necessary to respond adequately to climate change. It is in the very interest of the EU and its winemakers to modernize their means and practices to respond to the ongoing ecological crisis. The Farm to Fork Strategy will come with more rules and thus more costs for farmers and cooperatives. Impact assessment are much needed and the Commission should published the one it conducted. It is in the interest of all agricultural sectors to have a fair transition to the new commitments where nobody will be left behind.
Adequate means are needed to respond adequately to the crisis and the challenges of the near future.
First of all, the extension of the crisis measures for the whole of 2021 is necessary. Subsequently, the national support programs must be enlarged and financed with a substantial budget. This is not credible to imagine that emergency measures can be financed within the existing PNA budgets delaying for a second year structural actions EU wine sectors needs to prepare its future.
But the crisis tools are not enough, we need a multi-annual plan that gives priority to viticulture and brings additional economic resources:
- It must be ensured that European viticulture can full access the additional € 8 billion of the NextGenerationEu Fund in the 2nd pillar
- PNA should not be treated financially worse than the other components of the CAP whereas their budget allocations proposed in the CAP reform decrease by more than the decrease of the 2021-2027 CAP budget,
- The implementation of the CAP reform in all MS should make sure that EU viticulture will access to 2nd pillar agri-environmental measures and risks management schemes, both being essential to support the ecological and digital transition the EU wine sector is willing to lead.
Wine cooperatives play an essential role in rural areas joining farmers efforts to strengthening them in the food supply chain. Thanks to cooperatives, farmers can implement projects that they could not alone implement alone, eg. investments in their farms for marketing and commercialization keeping the added value from the market, promotion, research and innovation etc. Cooperatives are key in rural areas allowing farmers to take advantages of the global opportunities giving jobs in rural areas and fighting the depopulation. Promoting cooperatives will make a wine sector more competitive and resilient.
To rewatch the event you can click on the following link:
Please note that translation was only provided during the event itself, therefore during the recording you can only hear the person speaking in the language he or she has chosen to use.