The Italian government has raised the spectre of local riots if a crisis distillation request is not successful.

Italian delegates in Brussels have asked the European Union to allow a crisis distillation of Italy’s surplus wine.

The European Commission has yet to agree to the distillation although similar demands from France, Greece and Spain were approved earlier this year.

Both the Italian commissioner and the Italian government are putting pressure on the Commission, saying that the situation was very serious and hinting that riots could ensue.

‘Dangerous public order situations may arise if crisis distillation is not authorised by the end of July,’ said Rome.

Miriam Fischer-Boel, the European commissioner for agriculture would not be drawn on a decision but did acknowledge that the Italian wine sector was in a ‘serious situation’.

‘The request is still undergoing thorough examination,’ she said.

Written by Oliver Styles, and agencies