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Document 52016DC0735

COMMUNICATION DE LA COMMISSION AU CONSEIL concernant l'obtention d'un accord conférant un statut particulier de l'Union européenne au sein de l'Organisation internationale de la vigne et du vin (OIV)

COM/2016/0735 final

Bruxelles, le 25.11.2016

COM(2016) 735 final

COMMUNICATION DE LA COMMISSION AU CONSEIL

concernant l'obtention d'un accord conférant un statut particulier de l'Union européenne au sein de l'Organisation internationale de la vigne et du vin (OIV)


1.    Introduction

The International Organisation for Vine and Wine (OIV) is an intergovernmental scientific and technical organisation active in the sector of vines, wine, wine-based drinks, table grapes, raisins and other vine products. It was set up by an international agreement signed on 3 April 2001 in Paris and is the successor to the International Vine and Wine Office, set up in 1924 by an international arrangement on 29 November 1924.

As of 1 January 2016, the OIV had 45 member countries, including the main producer-countries, with the exception of USA, Canada and China. 19 EU Member States are members of the OIV: Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Cyprus. The OIV has financial resources of almost EUR 2.5 million a year, which come mainly from the subscriptions of members and observers.

The OIV’s objectives are specified in its founding agreement:

to inform its members of measures whereby the concerns of producers, consumers and other players in the vine and wine products sector may be taken into consideration;

to assist other international organisations, both intergovernmental and non-governmental, especially those which carry out standardisation activities;

to contribute to international harmonisation of existing practices and standards and, as necessary, to the preparation of new international standards in order to improve the conditions for producing and marketing vine and wine products, and to help ensure that the interests of consumers are taken into account.

In order to achieve these objectives, the OIV carries out numerous activities related to vines and vine products, in particular promotional, informational, and standardisation activities.

As part of its contribution to the international harmonisation of existing practices and standards, the OIV draws up - among other things - recommendations (called ‘resolutions’) in the following areas:

conditions for grape production;

oenological practices;

the definition and/or the description of products, labelling, and marketing conditions;

methods for the analysis and assessment of vine products.

The OIV’s work in setting standards is based on the work of scientific experts from Member States. In particular, it takes the form of publications that are periodically updated on the basis of resolutions adopted by the organisation. To date, the OIV has published several standards codes: the International Oenological Codex, the International Code of Oenological Practices, the Compendium of International Methods of Analysis of Wine and Musts, the Compendium of international methods of analysis of spirituous beverages, the International Standard for labelling wines and spirits of vitivinicultural origin, the OIV standard for international wine and spirituous beverages of vitivinicultural origin competitions, the OIV descriptor list for grape varieties andVitis, species, the description of world vine varieties, and the International list of vine varieties and their synonyms. It has also produced several resolutions and works on different subjects connected to the world of wine.

A detailed presentation of the structure and procedural rules of the OIV is available on the organisation’s website at: www.oiv.org .

2.    EU powers in the areas covered by the OIV

At EU-level, the OIV’s main standards codes (International Oenological Codex, International Code of Oenological Practices, the Compendium of International Methods of Analysis of Wine and Musts, the International Standard for labelling wines and spirits of vitivinicultural origin, and the Compendium of international methods of analysis of spirituous beverages) fall under the remit of the common agricultural policy or the harmonisation of laws for the establishment and functioning of the internal market.

EU legislation in the areas covered by the OIV includes in particular:

Commission Regulation (EC) No 2870/2000 of 19 December 2000 laying down Community reference methods for the analysis of spirit drinks (OJ L 333, 29.12.2000, p. 20).

Council Directive 2001/112/EC of 20 December 2001 relating to fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption (OJ L 10, 12.1.2002, p. 58),

Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008 on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 1576/89 (OJ L 39, 13.2.2008, p. 16),

Commission Regulation (EC) No 606/2009 of 10 July 2009 laying down certain detailed rules for implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 479/2008 as regards the categories of grapevine products, oenological practices and the applicable restrictions (OJ L 193, 24.7.2009, p. 1),

Commission Regulation (EC) No 607/2009 of 14 July 2009 laying down certain detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 479/2008 as regards protected designations of origin and geographical indications, traditional terms, labelling and presentation of certain wine sector products (OJ L 193, 24.7.2009, p. 60).

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 543/2011 of 7 June 2011 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 in respect of the fruit and vegetables and processed fruit and vegetables sectors (OJ L 157, 15.6.2011, p. 1).

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, amending Regulations (EC) No 1924/2006 and (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Commission Directive 87/250/EEC, Council Directive 90/496/EEC, Commission Directive 1999/10/EC, Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Directives 2002/67/EC and 2008/5/EC and Commission Regulation (EC) No 608/2004, (OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, p. 18).

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 203/2012 of 8 March 2012 amending Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, as regards detailed rules on organic wine (OJ L 71, 9.3.2012, p. 42),

Regulation (EC) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) No 922/72, (EEC) No 234/79, (EC) No 1037/2001 and (EC) No 1234/2007 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 671).

Regulation (EU) No 251/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of aromatised wine products and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 1601/91 (OJ L 84, 20.3.2014, p. 14).

Even though the OIV’s resolutions are not in themselves binding at EU-level under Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013, some of the resolutions adopted and published by the OIV have an impact on EU legislation. The CMO Regulation provides for references to the OIV resolutions in the following provisions:

certain methods of analysis for determining the composition of the products of the wine sector adopted and published by the OIV upon which the Commission must base itself unless they would be ineffective or inappropriate in view of the objective pursued by the Union (Article 80(5) of the CMO Regulation),

certain purity and identification specifications of substances used in oenological practices so that the rules adopted and published by the OIV become ipso facto binding on this matter within the EU (Article 9 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 606/2009 of 10 July 2009 laying down certain detailed rules for implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 479/2008 as regards the categories of grapevine products, oenological practices and the applicable restrictions),

oenological practices adopted and published by the OIV that the Commission must take into account when it authorises such practices (Article 80(3)(a) of the CMO Regulation), and

the same oenological practices where used, prior to their authorisation according to Article 80(3) of the CMO Regulation, for the production of wines imported into the EU (Article 90(2) of the CMO Regulation).

Similarly, under Regulation (EC) No 2870/2000, some of the resolutions adopted and published by the OIV have an impact on EU legislation. Article 3 of Regulation (EC) 2870/2000 provides for reference to OIV resolutions where Community analytical reference methods are not laid down for the detection and quantification of substances contained in a particular spirit drink.

Consequently, to the extent that OIV resolutions may affect the acquis or alter its scope, and where it is made necessary by the exercise of its internal competence, the EU - under Article 3(2) of the TFEU - has exclusive competence in the area. For this reason, before these resolutions are voted on in the OIV, the Council must take, under Article 218(9) of the TFEU, a common position on behalf of the EU.

3.    EU Participation

3.1.    Current situation

The EU currently has no official status in the OIV. On a totally informal basis, Commission representatives have usually been invited to attend and take part in expert groups, sub-committees and committees. They are also sometimes asked to attend (without being able to intervene in) the General Assembly, where resolutions are adopted by the OIV’s members. They do not participate in the work of the Executive Committee and pay no contribution to the OIV.

This ad hoc and limited participation does not allow the Commission to be fully informed about the development of new resolutions.

3.2.    The need for EU participation

Given the impact of the OIV’s work on the EU acquis and EU competences in the areas covered by the OIV, it is necessary for the EU’s role in the OIV to be strengthened and formalised.

Under Article 8 of the Final Act establishing the OIV, an international intergovernmental organisation can take part in the work of the OIV or become a member of it.

From a legal perspective, the EU’s membership in the OIV would be the natural consequence of the EU acquis and the EU’s competences in the areas covered by the OIV. However, when the question of EU membership of the OIV was discussed in the Council in 2009, the majority of Member States were opposed.

The OIV’s Rules of Procedure, adopted by its General Assembly, provides for a special status for the participation of international intergovernmental organisations. Thus, Article 4 of the OIV’s Rules of Procedure sets out:

‘An international intergovernmental organisation may request that it be granted a special status enabling it to:

a) intervene in the work of the committees, sub-committees and expert groups;

b) attend the meetings of the General Assembly and the Executive Committee.

Following a proposal of the Executive Committee and the agreement of the General Assembly, a special agreement shall be entered into between the OIV and the organisation in question. The special agreement shall define, in each particular case, the specific conditions of collaboration, including the amount of its annual financial contribution.

In the event of non-payment of three successive financial contributions, the Director-General of the OIV shall notify the international intergovernmental organisation in question of the situation. If the situation is not regularised during the two years following 31 December of the third year of non-payment, the international intergovernmental organisation in question shall be automatically excluded from the organisation.’

While reserving the position on the possibility of proposing to the Council that the EU begin negotiations to become a full member of the OIV, the Commission considers that it is necessary for the EU to ask the OIV to grant it special status.

This status would allow the Commission, as representative of the Union under Article 17 of the TEU, to be fully informed of the development of new resolutions, to be able to coordinate the EU’s common position with respect to these resolutions, and to attend and take part in - on behalf of the Union and on a formal basis - the work of the committees, sub-committees and expert groups, and to attend the meetings of the General Assembly and the Executive Committee. This would ensure a single EU representation within the OIV without calling into question the role within the OIV of scientific experts from EU Member States.

Moreover, the granting of this status would also allow EU representatives to get access - under the same conditions as OIV members - to all the documents enabling the EU to formulate its positions under optimum conditions. Thus, the special status proposed would facilitate the preparation of decisions that the Council will have to take under Article 218(9) of the TFEU.

The effects of granting this status will be limited to the specific conditions laid down in the special arrangement that accompanies the draft exchange of letters attached to this communication. It will have no legal effect beyond these specific conditions.

3.3.    Procedure for obtaining the EU’s special status within the OIV

An informal information note from the Commission giving notice of the start of discussions with the OIV was sent to the Council and to the Parliament on 25 April 2012.

On 26 May 2015, the Commission then sent the Council and the Parliament a draft exchange of letters, along with a special arrangement connected to the EU’s special status within the OIV and in line with the special agreement under Article 4 of the OIV’s Rules of Procedure, and additional explanations about the special status on 1 July 2015 1 . In the Council’s draft conclusions of 21 September 2015, the Council approved the Commission’s initiative to begin discussions with the OIV, and asked the Commission to submit the amended draft exchange of letters after the discussions 2 .

The draft EU letter and the related special arrangement were sent to the OIV on 14 October 2015 and a draft OIV letter was sent to the Commission on 27 January 2016. The final version of the draft exchange of letters, accompanied by the special arrangement, is attached to this communication. The signing of this exchange of letters will give the EU a special status within the OIV.

4.    Conclusion

In light of the above, the Commission will propose to the OIV that the EU be accorded the special status provided for in Article 4 of the OIV’s Rules of Procedure. The exchange of letters between the OIV and the EU, along with the special arrangement setting out the specific conditions for working together, will be signed by the Commission representing the EU in the context of this procedure. The Commissioner responsible for agriculture and rural development will have the power to sign the exchange of letters on behalf of the Commission and under its responsibility.

In light of Article 16 of the TEU, the Commission invites the Council to approve these conclusions and support it in their implementation.

(1)

     Council documents 9226/15 and 10432/15

(2)

     Council document 11788/1/15 REV 1.

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Brussels, 25.11.2016

COM(2016) 735 final

ANNEX

to the

Communication from the Commission to the Council

On reaching an agreement conferring special status on the European Union within the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV)


ANNEX

DRAFT Exchange of letters

between the International Organisation of Vine and Wine and the European Union concerning the consolidation and strengthening of cooperation

A. LETTER FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION

Dear Sir/Madam,

Since the creation of the International Vine and Wine Office, replaced in 2001 by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), several Member States of the European Union (EU) have participated in the activities of the OIV. In particular, with the other members of the OIV, they have drawn up recommendations on oenological practices, definitions and descriptions of products and methods for analysing and assessing vine products. Since April 1962, the EU has had in place a common organisation of the market in wine. Rules on oenological practices, methods of analysis and specifications of substances used in oenological practices are laid down in EU legislation.

EU legislation on oenological practices takes into account the recommendations of the OIV on oenological practices and methods of analysis. Similarly, the methods of analysis established at EU level are based on the methods recommended and published by the OIV, and the OIV’s substance specifications are directly incorporated into EU legislation. OIV recommendations thus acquire great practical importance, because the majority of the world’s wine producers are located in EU member states. Like the OIV, the EU contributes actively to the international harmonisation of existing practices and standards in the wine sector. Other issues covered by the OIV, such as wine labelling, spirit drinks, aromatised wine products, grapes, and wine statistics are also issues that fall within the EU’s competence.

It is in the mutual interest of the OIV and the EU that the EU be fully informed of the discussions around the formulation of new OIV resolutions. A more active participation of the EU in the work of the OIV will facilitate the establishment of EU positions with regard to the OIV’s draft recommendations and the future development of EU rules in line with OIV standards. This participation will reinforce the respective contributions of the OIV and the EU to the international harmonisation of practices and standards related to vine and wine. Furthermore, in order to ensure transparency concerning the status of the EU in the OIV, in particular vis-à-vis OIV members, a clear definition of the modalities and scope of the EU’s participation in the OIV is needed.

It is for these reasons that I propose that, on request of the EU, the special status provided for in Article 4 of the OIV’s rules of procedure be granted to the EU under the terms of the special arrangement attached to this letter, starting from the date of your response to this letter. The European Commission will represent the EU under this arrangement, in accordance with Article 17 of the Treaty on European Union.

This exchange of letters is restricted to the provisions necessary for conferring the special status upon the EU. It does not create rights or obligations under international law in addition to these provisions.

Faithfully,

Phil Hogan, Member of the European Commission

B. LETTER FROM THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATION OF VINE AND WINE

Commissioner Hogan,

It was with great pleasure that I received your letter of 14 October 2015 on consolidating and strengthening the cooperating between our two organisations. The text of that letter reads as follows:

‘Since the creation of the International Vine and Wine Office, replaced in 2001 by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), several Member States of the European Union (EU) have participated in the activities of the OIV. In particular, with the other members of the OIV, they have drawn up recommendations on oenological practices, definitions and descriptions of products and methods for analysing and assessing vine products. Since April 1962, the EU has had in place a common organisation of the market in wine. Rules on oenological practices, methods of analysis and specifications of substances used in oenological practices are laid down in EU legislation.

EU legislation on oenological practices takes into account the recommendations of the OIV on oenological practices and methods of analysis. Similarly, the methods of analysis established at EU level are based on the methods recommended and published by the OIV, and the OIV’s substance specifications are directly incorporated into EU legislation. OIV recommendations thus acquire great practical importance, because the majority of the world’s wine producers are located in EU member states. Like the OIV, the EU contributes actively to the international harmonisation of existing practices and standards in the wine sector. Other issues covered by the OIV, such as wine labelling, spirit drinks, aromatised wine products, grapes, and wine statistics are also issues that fall within the EU’s competence.

It is in the mutual interest of the OIV and the EU that the EU be fully informed of the discussions around the formulation of new OIV resolutions. A more active participation of the EU in the work of the OIV will facilitate the establishment of EU positions with regard to the OIV’s draft recommendations and the future development of EU rules in line with OIV standards. This participation will reinforce the respective contributions of the OIV and the EU to the international harmonisation of practices and standards related to vine and wine. Furthermore, in order to ensure transparency concerning the status of the EU in the OIV, in particular vis-à-vis OIV members, a clear definition of the modalities and scope of the EU’s participation in the OIV is needed.’

The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) pursues its objectives and exercises its activities as defined in Article 2 of its founding Agreement as an intergovernmental scientific and technical organisation of recognised competence in the sector of vine, wine, wine-based drinks, table grapes, raisins and other vine products.

For more than 30 years, the OIV has liaised with the EU, an arrangement that has been formalised since 2004 by the status of ‘guest’ granted to the European Commission in accordance with Article 5 of the OIV’s rules of procedure.

The OIV took note of the EU’s request of 14 October 2015 to obtain the special status provided for in Article 8 of the founding Agreement of 3 April 2001, in order to allow it to take part in the work of the committees, sub-committees and expert groups and also to attend meetings of the OIV’s General Assembly and Executive Committee.

In accordance with the provisions of Annex 3(A)(4) to its Rules of procedure, the OIV examined this request, taking into account factors such as the nature of the activities of the organisation in question, the composition of the organisation, the number of OIV members belonging to the organisation, reciprocity in terms of the possibility of attending discussions, and of documents and other aspects relating to observer status, and whether the organisation has been associated with the work of the OIV in the past.

Having regard to the Committee’s examination of.... and the General Assembly’s decision of .... to grant the EU special observer status provided for in Article 8 of the founding Agreement of 3 April 2001, I have the pleasure of confirming that the OIV accepts the areas of cooperation and the specific conditions for collaboration between our two organisations as defined in the attached special arrangement.

I propose that this letter and your letter of 14 October 2015 including the annex be considered as conferring the EU’s special status within the OIV, applicable as of the date this letter is signed.

Yours faithfully,

Jean-Marie Aurand
Director General of the OIV

Signed in Paris the



Special arrangement related to the particular status of the European Union within the International Organisation for Vine and Wine.

1. AREAS OF COOPERATION

The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) and the European Union (EU) have common objectives related to vine and wine. They both contribute to the harmonisation of practices and standards - on an international and EU level - to facilitate the production and marketing of vine and wine products. In particular, the OIV adopts and publishes resolutions related to vine and wine and it assists other international organisations in their standardisation activities. The activities of the EU in areas covered by the OIV include rules on the definition, production and marketing of wines, aromatised wine products, wine spirits, grape juices and table grapes.

2. B. SPECIFIC COLLABORATION CONDITIONS

The EU, represented by the European Commission, may take part in the work of OIV committees, sub-committees and expert groups. When appropriate, in these meetings the representative of the European Commission will explain the EU legislation that may exist in the area in question, and the EU’s specific interest in the matters discussed.

The representative of the European Commission may attend meetings of the General Assembly and the Executive Committee. Upon request, and in accordance with the OIV’s rules of procedure, the representative of the European Commission may inform these bodies of EU positions on agenda matters which are of direct relevance to the EU.

The European Commission will regularly invite the OIV to exchange information and discuss issues of mutual interest for the OIV and the EU.

The OIV will send to the European Commission (via the mailbox AGRI-OIV@ec.europa.eu ), at the same time as to all the members of the OIV, all relevant documents including draft resolutions which may be submitted for vote to the General Assembly. To ensure that, where applicable, EU positions can be established in due time, the OIV will send draft resolutions as soon as possible before the General Assembly where they will be presented for vote.

The European Commission will send the OIV all relevant documents relating to the adoption of new EU legal acts of direct relevance to the OIV when the documents are made public.

The OIV takes note of the fact that the EU intends to make an annual financial contribution. The amount of this contribution will be committed separately.

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