LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — Slovenian winemakers warned the European Union Wednesday that Croatia has presented "partly forged" documents while getting permission to use the Teran red wine brand in the 28-nation bloc.
Neighboring EU members Slovenia and Croatia have long been at odds over the use of the Teran name. Slovenia says it has exclusive rights to the brand, which it considers a national treasure. The red thick wine produced from Refosco vine grapes in Istria near the Adriatic coast is known for its distinctive aroma which resembles the scent of wild berries.
Last Friday, however, the EU's executive arm, the European Commission, effectively allowed Croatian winemakers to use the name under certain conditions.
The Commission said Croatian producers will be able to use the Teran name for the wine made in the Croatian part of the Istrian peninsula the two countries share, and on condition that the name Hrvatska Istra, or Croatian Istria, on the wine bottle label is bigger than the Teran name.
The head of a Slovenian group to protect Teran, Marjan Colja, said they informed EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan that Croatia used out-of-date documents to outline its case.
"It is mostly about the Croatian documentation, which is partly forged," Colja said. "I must say that this was somewhat new information for the Commission."
Slovenian producers also told Hogan that they would file a complaint with the European Anti-Fraud Office. The group also said it will "continue" to prepare a lawsuit against the Commission at the EU Court if it doesn't withdraw the decision.
Slovenia and Croatia, both former republics of Yugoslavia, have been at odds over a number of other issues, including their long-standing border dispute on the Adriatic Sea.