Activist says French minister is to blame for rose law

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  • Tuesday 26 May 2009

Former French farming activist Jose Bove has branded the agriculture minister Michel Barnier a ‘liar’ for his comments over the rose blending law.

Bove, who is standing in the EU elections next week as leader of the Europe-Ecologie party in south-western France, said Barnier had ‘lied…about [the new rosé law in] Europe’.

As part of EU wine reform, Brussels is proposing to allow the blending of red and white wines in the making of Table Wine rose. The move has shocked many traditional rose producers in Europe, which see such blending practices as sacriligious.

Bove, who came into the media spotlight after destroying a McDonalds restaurant in Millau in central France in 1999, said the agriculture minister was as equally responsible as his European counterparts.

‘He lied about rose…saying it was the fault of the [European] Commission,’ Bove said at a Europe-Ecologie meeting in Grenoble, near Lyon. ‘[But] the decision was taken by European Ministers, which include him [Barnier].’

Barnier, who is running as a canditate for the French right-wing UMP party in the EU elections, has come under fire for his confusing stance on the rose issue.

In an official statement, the minister said he was opposed to the blending law. However, at the original vote on the European wine reforms in January this year, the French delegation chose not to vote against the plans, which included the rosé legislation.

Barnier's press office said the minister would not comment on Bove's remarks.

The EU wine reform committee is due to decide on the new law on 19 June.

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