“Portugal was one of the Member States of the European Union that contested the proposal for an Irish regulation, considering that the project provides for the introduction of restrictions on the placing, on the Irish market, of alcoholic beverages from other Member States, through the imposition of new labelling requirements for these products,” said the Ministry of Economy and the Sea, in response to Lusa.

As the Government underlined, these new requirements “do not comply” with the European regulation, which defines that there needs to be harmonised rules for the labelling of food products.

Thus, “it constitutes a barrier to the free movement of products in the European internal market”.

“Harmful to health”

At issue is Ireland's decision to include a label on all bottles of alcoholic beverages that warns that its consumption is “harmful to health”.

This regulation will affect the Portuguese alcoholic beverages sector by "introducing additional and specific obligations for access to the market in this country", stressed the ministry supervised by António Costa Silva.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food told Lusa that it had issued a sectoral unfavourable opinion of this intention by Ireland, which contributed to Portugal's final position on this matter.

According to the executive's data, in 2021, Portuguese wine exports to Ireland stood at 6.3 million euros, an increase of 39.5% compared to the previous year.

Ireland is the 23rd customer of Portuguese wines globally and the 12th at a community level.

On January 12, the Italian Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani, announced that his Government will ask the European Commission to intervene to halt this decision.

In a publication on Twitter, Tajani considered this an “absurd” decision, which ignores the “difference between moderate consumption and excess alcohol”.