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Another ECJ trial lost: Slovakia can call its wine Tokaj

November 10th, 2012

Népszabadság disagrees with the ruling of the European Court of Justice, but suggests Hungary should try to agree with Slovakia on Tokaj wine standards.

Two days after ruling that Hungary has lowered the retirement age of judges illegally, the “Luxembourg court” rejected Hungary’s objection to the use of the Tokaj denomination in Slovakia, as permitted by the European Commission. Hungary has tried to reach agreement with Slovakia over both the extent of the Tokaj region, and over the standards Tokaj wines have to meet. The Slovak side does not accept the strict rules in force on the Hungarian side of the border, but Brussels nevertheless approved the Slovak claim. Hungary sued the Commission, but has lost and will probably appeal against the sentence.

In a front page editorial entitled “Wine Trianon”, Népszabadság remarks that the court has based its ruling on purely formal considerations, avoiding any analysis of the content: namely the need to guarantee the high quality of any bottle of wine called Tokaj. Hungary earlier managed to ban the use of the appellation in Italy and France, but Népszabadság suggests that it should not try to deprive Slovakian Hungarians of the right to call their wine Tokaj. “We should try to agree with them instead.”

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