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Grape industry Finnished?

Moves have been made in Parliament to put the brakes on a proposal that would make Finland an official wine producer in the European Union.

Parliament’s Agriculture and Forestry Committee has proposed that the initiative be cancelled. A statement issued by the committee said that seeking to become a wine-producing country would give the wrong impression on prevailing climate conditions in Finland.

“From the point of view of practicing agriculture in Finland it is crucial that the disadvantageous climate conditions that prevail in our country compared with the rest of Europe should be taken into consideration,” the committee said. It also pointed out that the cultivation of grapes in Finland was negligible, for all practical purposes. The EU is drafting a new wine statute, and the Finnish Government has decided to ask that Finland be granted the status of a wine-producing country. If it did not do so, the approximately 20 grapegrowers in the Åland Islands would not be allowed to sell their wines.

In a recent interview with Helsingin Sanomat, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Mariann Fischer Boel remarked that things must not be so bad in Finland, considering that it wants to become a wine-producing country. Finland is entitled to special agricultural subsidies specifically because of its northern position.

The statement from the Agriculture and Forestry Committee will go to the Grand Committee, whose task will be to guide the Government in the wine talks.

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