France: white paper divides nation

white paper Evin law ANPAA A Alan Suguenot News Wine News
  • Tuesday 3 August 2004

A white paper tackling wine legislation drawn up by French ministers and handed to the government last Thursday looks set to divide a nation.

The paper seeks to amend the strict but sometimes vague Evin law of 1991 which governs how tobacco and alcohol can be advertised. It proposes that the Evin law be relaxed for wine, claiming that wine is a healthy, cultural beverage that forms part of France’s heritage – a similar argument to that used successfully by pro-wine lobbies in Spain.

‘Prohibition – no; moderation – yes,’ said minister Alan Suguenot, who helped draft the white paper.

However, as France clamps down on drink driving and alcoholism, the notion that wine be exempt from certain advertising constraints forced on other alcoholic beverages is a paradox for some.

‘The report is a flagrant contradiction of the health laws seeking to reduce alcohol consumption over five years,’ said Dr André Rigaud, head of the National Association for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Addiction (ANPAA).

The French government is caught between a strong health and safety policy and a declining wine sector that still represents France’s fifth highest export. Over the last 20 years wine consumption in France has halved. One recent article entitled ‘Saving Private Plonk’ claims 200,000 jobs in the wine sector could be threatened if the downward trend continues.

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