The front of countries opposed to Ireland’s plan to introduce health risk warnings – similar to those found on cigarette packs – on bottles of alcoholic beverages, including beer and wine, is widening. Not only Italy, France, and Spain, but also Portugal, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary may soon join forces to pressure the European Commission.
At the core of the controversy is the compatibility between the regulation of the internal market and the rules Ireland would like to enact, all the more so since the Commission has announced EU measures on the matter.
SPAIN: WINE IS A TREATY-PROTECTED PRODUCTS
“We need to preserve the single market, and that means having a common approach,” says Spain’s Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas. “We respect the competence of member states in health matters, but here we are regulating a foodstuff that is recognized by the Treaty of the Functioning of the EU, and that is why we have asked the Commission to comment on this issue.”
In recent years, Italian governments are already mobilizing to block the approval of Nutriscore nutrition labeling with various initiatives, including high-level events and building coalitions with other member states.
COMMISSION FALLS SILENT, IRELAND DOESN’T STOP
With its silence in recent weeks, however, the European Commission has not only effectively endorsed the Irish regulation but also risks setting a dangerous precedent for the new food label regulation that the EU is expected to propose by the end of this year. According to the Irish government, silent consent from the Commission “is another important step in adopting these standards,” Dublin diplomatic sources tell Italy’s Ansa news agency. The intention is to proceed.