European Union wine subsidies favour the bigger wine producing countries

New research has revealed that when it comes to handing out subsidies and support it it some of Europe’s wealthiest and most established wine countries that get more better than countries you might think are more in demand.

A new study published in the Journal of Wine Economics, shows its the EU’s riches countries that receive the lion’s share of the subsidies from the EU.

France is by far the biggest recipient. Which is not surprising, and nor is it unfair, as France has far more small winemakers than other countries, and its wine industry is of great importance to the nation.  Italy and Spain are second and third in total support, and also have a large number of small producers to support.

However, Greece, which comes ninth in terms of total EU support comes way behind the economic power houses that are Germany and Austria, which each receive three times as much EU subsidy compared to the Greeks.

But when the study, by Kym Anderson of the University of Adelaide and Hans G Jensen of the University of Copenahgen looked at how much each country received per hectare of vines, the results are interesting.

Austria comes out on top by a large margin, and Cyprus came second, which seems logical as the country could do with the financial assistance. But the French came in third place and Germany in fourth.

Greece has 2.25 times as many hectares of vines as Austria. But Austria receives 3.4 times as much total direct EU support as Greece. That Austrians also receives nearly four times as much indirect support as Greece adding insult to injury.

In terms of support received per hectare of vines, Austria is again in first place, and Cyprus second.   The support per hectare ranges from from 300 euros in Greece to 2,350 euros in Austria and support per litre of wine produced ranges from 0.11 euros in Greece to 0.37 euros in Austria

“The French are supposed to be the masters of running vineyards, yet they get more government support for it than almost any other country,” commented wine blogger and commentator Blake Gray. “Then there are the supposedly efficient Germans living on government money.”

It would appear that the French are using their EU support to make more wine, he said, but focusing on quantity rather than quality. Meanwhile, the Porguguese are also accepting government subsidies but making less wine.

Portugal, Spain and Greece all receive below average government support per hectare, in fact Greece, arguably the most needy country, receives the lowest per hectare support of the entire EU.

In terms of figures, the authors of the report say that the average EU vineyard received 700 Euros per hectare (283 Euros per hectare) of government support. Austria, France, Cyprus and Germany received more than 1000 Euros per hectare. (404 Euros per acre).

The overall average comes to around 15 eurcents per bottle of wine produced in the EU, averaged across all countries.

By per kilolitre standards, Slovakia and Slovenia are number two and three respectively in terms of the amount of EU funds they receive.

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Neville Blech
 

Qualified as a chartered accountant in 1959 and became passionate about food and wine whilst working in Italy in the early sixties.

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