Slovenia Shaping Up for Fight Over Teran Wine
Ljubljana/Zagreb, 14 July - Slovenia plans to fight Croatia's renewed efforts to use the name Teran - which Slovenia protected in the EU - for a wine produced in the Istria region that it cannot sell under the current arrangement.
"We expect from the European Commission to shield the Slovenian protected origin. There are no talks under way with Croatia, we did not consent to that at any point," Agriculture Minister Dejan Židan told the STA on Tuesday.
His statement comes after Croatian Agriculture Minister Tihomir Jakovina indicated that Croatia had stepped up efforts to find a solution favourable for Croatian wineries.
"We have the Commission's understanding and support. We hope things proceed in a positive direction, if not we will sue the Commission and Slovenia at the EU Court," he said on Monday according to the Croatian press agency Hina.
Slovenia protected Teran as a Slovenian product in 2000, with Teran becoming a protected product at EU level in 2004, when Slovenia joined the EU. In 2013 it secured a ban on the sale of Croatian Teran in stores across the EU.
Croatia claims Teran is a wine native to the entire Istria region, with Croatian as well as Italian wineries entitled to selling it under that name.
"We are certain of our arguments. Teran is a wine that has been produced for centuries in the Croatian Istria," Jakovina was quoted as saying.
Croatia demands that its winers be allowed to sell Teran under the name "Teran, Croatian Istria", which is also acceptable for the wine producers.
Minister Židan acknowledged that Croatia was exerting strong pressure on the Commission's agriculture department, but he noted Slovenia had been countering its efforts and would continue to do so.
"Slovenia will in any case advocate its position at the Commission. If the Commission does not respect the will of a member state, we are ready to defend our interests at other appropriate levels," he said.
Židan indicated that the protection of Teran was designed to help wine producers from the Slovenian region of Kras, where Teran is the most popular wine.
"Economic reasons speak against expanding the protection of Teran to other areas. This would jeopardise our production," he said.
Croatia and Slovenia have been embroiled in several disputes over protected designation of origin.
They reached an agreement on the protection of Istrian prosciutto and Carniola sausage, but at least for now a deal on Teran appears out of reach.