EU official promises resolution of Slovenia-Croatia wine row

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) " The European Union will review Slovenia's complaints over a permission granted to Croatia to use the Teran red wine brand in the 28-nation bloc, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday.

Slovenian winemakers have warned the EU that Croatia has presented "partly forged" documents while getting the permission from the bloc's executive arm to use the Teran name last week.

EU neighbors Slovenia and Croatia have long been at odds over the use of the Teran label. Slovenia says it has exclusive rights to the brand, which it considers a national treasure.

Juncker said in Slovenia that "we'll come back to this issue after having given a careful examine to the new facts."

"We have to check the new reality," Juncker said. "My impression is that we will have to reconsider."

Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar has asked Juncker to suspend the whole process.

"Slovenia will do everything to protect its interest," Cerar said, reiterating the government position to use all legal means to challenge the Commission's decision.

The Commission said Croatian producers will be able to use the Teran name for the wine made in the Croatian part of the Istrian peninsula the two countries share, and on condition that the name Hrvatska Istra, or Croatian Istria, on the wine bottle label is bigger than the Teran name.

The thick red wine produced from Refosco vine grapes in Istria near the Adriatic coast is known for its distinctive aroma which resembles the scent of wild berries.

During the joint media conference with Cerar, Juncker said he tasted Teran and "it is excellent."

The Slovenian "minister of agriculture was trying to convince me to taste more, but knowing that we had a press conference I did resist this friendly invitation," he said.

Slovenia and Croatia, both former republics of Yugoslavia, have been at odds over a number of other issues, including their long-standing border dispute on the Adriatic Sea.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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