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The European Parliament has severely watered down Brussels' plan to reform Europe's wine sector and make it more able to withstand the challenges of global competition.

In a vote on Wednesday (12 December), MEPs revised the proposal by the European Commission by dropping the elements which had sparked the strongest opposition by member states.

They rejected the commission's suggestion to ban adding sugar to wine, a practice traditionally used in some countries in northern and central Europe with less sunshine over the year.

At the same time, they called for subsidies to southern countries for using pure grape juice to be maintained and not scrapped as suggested by the commission.

The parliamentarians also rejected the idea of a full liberalization of planting rights for quality wine makers on areas previously not used as vineyards by 2014, seen as a way to allow competitive wine producers to expand their production.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:20:40 AM EST
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