BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Romania and Hungary are pushing the EU to make it easier for orchard farmers to distil their own fruit brandy, a traditional practice in east and central Europe that is restricted in the bloc on health grounds.
The former communist states, both of which have clashed with the EU over accusations of undermining civil rights, have taken to describing the right to distil fruit brandy as a fight for freedoms.
Initiative - Romania - EU - Rotating - Presidency
At the initiative of Romania, which holds the EU rotating presidency through June, the issue will be discussed by EU finance ministers at a meeting on Friday, just ahead of European parliamentary elections next week.
EU rules now ban distilling at home, although orchard owners who bring their own fruit to distilleries to be made into brandy are allowed to take some home for personal use, paying half the usual rate of excise tax.
Romania - Tuica - Plum - Brandy - Ban
Romania, known for its “tuica” plum brandy, wants to lift the ban on home distilling and give countries the option to remove excise tax altogether for brandy produced for the fruit grower’s own use.
It is backed by Hungary, whose president Viktor Orban changed Hungary’s laws to allow home distilling in 2010 but was forced to backtrack by the EU’s top...
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