"The provisions included in the Irish labelling regulations are incompatible with current EUlaw and constitute an unjustified and disproportionate barrier to trade under EUlegislation. They will fragment the EU Single Market by affecting its proper functioning, defacto hindering access of products from other Member States to Ireland and thusgenerating clear discrimination to imported products.” said Mauricio González-Gordon,President of CEEV. “While we fully support the fight against alcohol abuse, we stronglybelieve this objective could be achieved by more effective and less trade-restrictivemeasures that should be, in addition, compatible with current EU law.” he added.
In its complaint, CEEV underlines the clear incompatibility of Irish labelling rules with wineand aromatized wine products’ new labelling legislation on matters concerning theindication of alcohol content and energy value. It also explains how the Irish rules are adisproportionate and unjustified barrier to trade contrary to Articles 34 and 36 of theTreaty of Functioning of the EU, thereby jeopardizing the EU Single market. It underlineshow Ireland has never properly justified the measure proposed.
CEEV also underlines how the Irish rules risk undermining coherent EU-wide action byadopting unilateral rules on matters, such as health warnings, that the EuropeanCommission has already announced its intention to legislate on.
Last but not least, CEEV explains how the Irish labelling provisions fail to distinguishbetween alcohol abuse and moderate wine consumption patterns, therefore failing toaccurately inform consumers.
The incompatibility of Irish labelling rules with EU law and the fragmentation of the EUSingle Market was highlighted by no less than 13 EU Member States during the EUnotification procedure and, last week, by at least 8 non-EU countries during the WTOprocedure. Even the Irish authorities acknowledged it publicly, with humour, during anevent organized by the Swedish Presidency on 1 February. Not to mention that theEuropean Commission itself warned Ireland against this incompatibility some years agoduring the TRIS notification process.
“With Ireland’s lack of reaction to the many concerns raised by national governments andwith the inexplicable failure of the European Commission to act and defend the EU lawand EU Single market, we were left with no other choice but to present an official EUcomplaint to request an infringement procedure to be opened against Ireland” saidIgnacio Sánchez Recarte, Secretary General of CEEV.
“We remain convinced that it is the responsibility of the European Commission to worktowards defining a harmonized and scientifically appropriate legal framework that protectsthe EU Single market and adequately informs consumers. As CEEV, we stand ready toproactively collaborate on this matter.” he added.