Documents considered by the Committee on 13 November 2017 Contents

13International Vine and Wine Organisation

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested; drawn to the attention of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Document details

Proposal for a Council Decision to be adopted on behalf of the European Union with regard to certain resolutions to be voted in the framework of the International Organisation for Vine and Wine (OIV)

Legal base

Articles 43 and 218(9), TFEU

Department

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Document Number

(38705), 8554/17 + ADD 1, COM(17) 221

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

13.1The International Organisation for Vine and Wine (OIV) is an intergovernmental organisation which sets standards for viticulture, oenological practices, definitions, labelling and methods of analysis. Currently 46 States are members of the OIV, among which 20 are EU Member States. The UK and the EU itself are not members.

13.2Resolutions adopted by the OIV (by consensus of its participating members) are not legally binding but they serve as a reference for members and, in particular, may be used as a relevant international standard according to the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.

13.3Pursuant to various EU laws,111 certain resolutions adopted and published by the OIV affect EU law. As such, the Commission proposes draft Council Decisions to establish common positions on OIV resolutions falling within EU competence. These require the EU members of the OIV to vote on resolutions at Annual General Assembly meetings in line with the Decisions.

13.4This latest such proposal sought to establish the voting position of EU Member States on certain draft resolutions which were scheduled to be adopted in the context of the 15th General Assembly of the International Organisation for Vine and Wine (OIV) held in Sofia, Bulgaria on 2 June 2017.

13.5Due to the timing of the General Election, it was not possible for the Committee to consider the document before its adoption. The UK abstained in the vote.

13.6The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (George Eustice) is content that the OIV resolutions represent positive developments for the wine sector and national and international wine trade. He describes the implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on this proposal as “not applicable”, noting that EU law on authorised oenological practices will be integrated into UK law through the Repeal Bill. Once outside the EU, he says, the UK will be free to make changes independently.

13.7We would not ordinarily report such a document to the House as politically important. We consider, however, that the UK’s decision to withdraw from the European Union adds significance to the document as the UK is not a member of the OIV. Under arrangements as they currently stand, the UK will be outside both the EU and the OIV, thus placing the UK in a position where it is unable to influence the development of international oenological standards. In that context, we ask the Minister for comment on whether:

13.8Due to the timing of the General Election, it was not possible for the Committee to consider the document before its adoption. We note that the UK abstained and therefore that the scrutiny reserve was not overridden.

13.9We nevertheless retain the document under scrutiny and draw it to the attention of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

Full details of the documents

Proposal for a Council Decision to be adopted on behalf of the European Union with regard to certain resolutions to be voted in the framework of the International Organisation for Vine and Wine (OIV): (38705), 8554/17 + ADD 1, COM(17) 221.

Background

13.10The International Organisation of Vine and Wine is an intergovernmental scientific and technical organisation active in the sector of vine, wine, wine-based drinks, table grapes, raisins and other vine products. The objectives of the OIV are: (i) 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; (ii) to assist other international organisations involved in standardisation activities; and (iii) to contribute to international harmonisation of existing practices and standards.

13.11Under EU law, certain resolutions adopted and published by the OIV affect EU law. Examples include:

13.12The Commission proposes that the EU Member States represented at the OIV support the Resolutions as set out in the Annex below.

13.13The Court of Justice (CJEU) ruled in 2014 (Case C-399/12) that the use of Article 218(9) of the Treaty was an appropriate legal base for Council decisions in this area of competence. The ruling followed a challenge by Germany, arguing that the legal base was incorrect where a position was being established in an international organisation to which the EU was not a party and the resolutions to be adopted by that organisation were not legally-binding.

Minister’s Explanatory Memorandum of 23 June 2017

13.14The Minister confirms that the Decision was adopted at the 21 May Council and that the OIV General Assembly supported all of the resolutions except OENO-SCMA 11–479, which was withdrawn by the OIV Oenology Commission.

13.15He indicates that the Government had considered the various OIV resolutions and was content that these represented positive developments for the wine sector and national and international wine trade.

13.16He adds that consideration was given to the CJEU judgement in 2014 (see above). Specifically, the Government continues to scrutinise the use of Article 218(9) as a basis for Council decisions at international organisations. He observes that, on leaving the EU, the UK will be free to make changes independently.

13.17The Minister describes the implications of leaving the EU on this proposal as “not applicable”. The Government expects the Commission to come forward with proposals to amend existing EU legislation later in the year, reflecting the changes made by the OIV. Under the Repeal Bill, the EU’s law on authorised oenological practices will, says the Minister, become UK law upon withdrawal from the EU.

Previous Committee Reports

None.

Draft OIV Resolutions

The draft OIV resolutions on which this proposal seeks a Council decision are the following:


111 Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 (The CMO
Regulation) and Commission Regulation (EC) 606/ 2009.




20 November 2017