France has Threatened Russia Over the Champagne Law
According to Le Drian, France is currently studying this law and discussing it with the Russian authorities. «In the coming days, we will work with the Russian authorities within the framework of bilateral relations, as well as at the European level, to protect the interests of our producers, especially concerning our geographical names», the minister said, adding that the new Russian law is «openly directed against French products» and fits into the logic of «protectionist measures» in the field of Russian winemaking.
Le Drian warned that if it turns out that the Russian law violates the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), France may file a lawsuit against Russia. At the same time, the minister expressed the hope that «the dialogue will allow us to resolve these difficulties».
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law according to which the concept of «champagne» is allowed to be used only in relation to wine produced on the territory of Russia. At the same time, foreign companies are required to label the drink as «sparkling wine».
The law was opposed by the French association of champagne producers Comite Champagne, which unites large producers, as well as the European Commission.