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Hungarians wary EU wine reforms would wipe out vineyards

Hungarian wine-makers are fighting the European Union's planned wine reform, which could lead to farmers selling off their vineyards en masse, national daily Népszabadság reported on Thursday.

The tabled reform is set to reduce the EU's vineyard land by 400,000 hectares to reduce Europe's wine lake and subsidies linked to it, making the sector more competitive. But Hungarian wine industry representatives fear the price of €8,000 per hectare offered to farmers for digging up vineyards will be too good an offer to refuse, and the area of vineyards could be drastically cut down, the paper said.

Hungarian wine makers are convinced that a wine lobby promoting production in third world countries is behind the move, which, they said, would not result in the desired elimination of surplus wine. Csaba Horváth, General Secretary of the National Council of Mountain Regions, said discussion on the regulations in the EU were in the third round and a compromise could still be hoped. Hungarian farmers and wine-makers agree with the need for reforms but see different means to modernizing the sector in Hungary, Horváth told the paper. (english.mti.hu)