Left Menu
Development News Edition

Romania, Hungary step up pressure for orchard farmers' brandy ahead of EU election

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 15-05-2019 22:22 IST | Created: 15-05-2019 21:40 IST
Romania, Hungary step up pressure for orchard farmers' brandy ahead of EU election
The former communist states, both of which have clashed with the EU over accusations of undermining civil rights, have taken to describing the right to distil fruit brandy as a fight for freedoms. Image Credit: Pixabay

Romania and Hungary are pushing the EU to make it easier for orchard farmers to distil their own fruit brandy, a traditional practice in the east and central Europe that is restricted in the bloc on health grounds.

The former communist states, both of which have clashed with the EU over accusations of undermining civil rights, have taken to describing the right to distil fruit brandy as a fight for freedoms. At the initiative of Romania, which holds the EU rotating presidency through June, the issue will be discussed by EU finance ministers at a meeting on Friday, just ahead of European parliamentary elections next week.

EU rules now ban distilling at home, although orchard owners who bring their own fruit to distilleries to be made into brandy are allowed to take some home for personal use, paying half the usual rate of excise tax. Romania, known for its "tuica" plum brandy, wants to lift the ban on home distilling and give countries the option to remove excise tax altogether for brandy produced for the fruit grower's own use.

It is backed by Hungary, whose president Viktor Orban changed Hungary's laws to allow home distilling in 2010 but was forced to backtrack by the EU's top court, which ruled the changes illegal in 2014. Hungarians are known for "palinka", brandy from apricots, plums, cherries, apples or pears. Fruit growers in Hungary and Romania are already allowed to produce more brandy for personal use, taxed at the lower rate, than in other EU countries, up to 50 litres a year per grower. A tweak to an EU legislative proposal suggested by Romania would allow countries to charge no tax rather than just lowering it. The personal use threshold would be raised to 100 litres in Romania and Hungary, and 50 litres elsewhere in the EU.

The reform would also legalise home distilleries, a move that would be welcomed by other states, including Austria, officials said. Homemade beers and wines are already legal and duty-free in the bloc. A Romanian official said the higher ceiling was meant to allow large households in the countryside to produce their own spirits in line with ancient traditions.

The proposal, which needs the backing of all EU states to be approved, is opposed by Germany, Italy, Sweden and Bulgaria, according to an EU document seen by Reuters. Sofia fears the reform would allow cheaper Romanian brandies to be sold illegally across the border and disrupt local production, a Bulgarian official said.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Rethinking Rural Livelihoods in the Times of COVID-19

The reverse migration caused by COVID 19 pandemic has put an additional burden of about one crore people on Indian villages particularly in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal and Odisha. Besides increasing the risk of spreading the ...

‘Discounted Deaths’ and COVID 19: Anthropology of Death and Emotions

Death is a social event rather than the mere cessation of biological functions. As seen by anthropologists, death is not just physical but intensely social, cultural, and political....

Indigenous knowledge of communities a must for maximizing impact of community work

Generally, it has been observed that the majority of the academicians in higher education institutions neglect the wisdom of community people and throw their weight around thinking that they know everything and the community knows nothing. ...

In rebuking FBR, Pakistan’s courts take a stand for public health

The system, if implemented effectively, will allow Pakistans revenue service to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products and potentially add hundreds of millions of dollars to the states budget each year. ...

Videos

Latest News

SC notice to Centre, Maharashtra govt on plea to rename Bombay High Court

The Supreme Court Wednesday asked the Centre, Maharashtra government and others to respond to a plea which has sought directions to rename the Bombay High Court as the High Court of Maharashtra. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, he...

US Legislatures slow to pass laws limiting use of force

A wave of police killings of young black men in 2014 prompted 24 states to quickly pass some type of law enforcement reform, but many declined to address the most glaring issue police use of force. Six years later, only about a third of sta...

French court orders transfer of Rwanda genocide suspect to U.N. tribunal

A French court on Wednesday approved the transfer of Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga to a United Nations tribunal.Kabuga has been indicted by U.N. prosecutors for genocide and incitement to commit genocide. He is accused of financi...

India expresses strong concern over reports of vandalism, defacement and destruction of Buddhist heritage in Gilgit-Baltistan: MEA.

India expresses strong concern over reports of vandalism, defacement and destruction of Buddhist heritage in Gilgit-Baltistan MEA....

Give Feedback