The European Commission on Friday confirmed having received a complaint from Slovenia against Croatia over breaches of rules that refer to the protection of interests of Slovenian producers of the Teran wine, which is protected at EU level, and that it had sent a letter to Croatia which however does not in any way prejudge further steps by the EC against Croatia.
EC spokesman Daniel Rosario said that he could confirm that the EC had received Slovenia's complaint over alleged lack of control with regard to more suitable protection of wine produced under the protected name Teran. The Commission has sent a letter to Croatia but the letter in no way prejudges further action by the Commission in that regard, Rosario said.
The Slovenian Agriculture Ministry complained to the EC about Croatian institutions which, it said, were not offering Slovenia assistance in identifying breaches of rights arising from the protected designation of origin of the Teran wine.
The EC has prepared an act, which is expected to enter into force on June 30 and which will make it possible for Croatian wine producers in the northern Adriatic region of Istria to continue selling their wine under the name Teran. The act has caused dissatisfaction in Slovenia, which previously protected that name with a protected designation of origin.
Before Croatia's accession to the EU Slovenia protected Teran as its own product at EU level, meaning that no one but Slovenian winemakers were allowed to sell wine under that name.
Croatia complained against this, saying that Slovenia did not have the right to protect Teran because the wine produced in the Slovenian part of the region of Istria under that name was made from the Refosco grape variety, while in the Croatian part of Istria it was made from the Teran grape variety.
Croatian wine experts stress that DNA analyses have shown that Refosco and Teran are two entirely different grape varieties while Slovenian experts claim that genetically, this is one and the same grape variety that is called differently.
According to the EC, the Croatian Teran would bear the name Croatia Istria, with the word Teran written under the name in smaller letters.