EU Fails to Enforce Requirement to Label Wines From Settlements, Study Shows

Four years after decision, only 10 percent of wines from Israeli settlements in the West Bank are labeled as such

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Vineyards in the Israeli settlement of Psagot, in 2014.
Vineyards in the Israeli settlement of Psagot, in 2014.

The European Union has largely failed to enforce its decision to label products of Israeli settlements, a new study examining sales of wines shows.

The labeling decision was adopted in 2015. But four years later, the study said, only 10 percent of wines produced by wineries in the West Bank and Golan Heights are fully or even partially labeled as the EU said they should be – “Product of West Bank/Golan Heights (Israeli settlement).”

While the study focused exclusively on wine, it is easier to determine the origin of wine than of many other products. Consequently, this is a product “where compliance levels should be the highest,” it said.

The study examined 3,089 bottles of wine that it found in 189 stories throughout the EU. It concluded that the main European consumers of wine produced in the settlements are Britain, Belgium, France and Germany, while wine from the West Bank in particular is mainly consumed in those four countries plus Holland.

In contrast, the researchers could find no evidence of any wine from the settlements being sold in eight countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Malta, Romania or Slovenia.

Of the wines that were properly labeled, most were sold in France, Germany and Italy, the study said. But in Britain and Belgium, where such labeling was required even prior to the EU decision, virtually no wine was found to be properly labeled. Britain adopted a labeling requirement in 2009 and Belgium in 2014.

Altogether, the study found, 78 percent of the settlement wine sold in the EU was from the Golan Heights and 22 percent from the West Bank. The study didn’t include wineries inside Israel that have vineyards in the settlements, due to the difficulty of determining the origin of each individual wine.

The study was conducted by the European Middle East Project, an organization with liberal leanings that monitors EU policy on the Middle East. It was done by surveying all the stores it could find that sell wine from the settlements online.

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