SEZANA, Slovenia (AP) — Slovenian winemakers said Friday they expect the European Commission to suspend the procedure of issuing a permit to Croatia to use the Teran red wine brand in the 28-nation bloc.
The head of a Slovenian group to protect Teran, Marjan Colja, told The Associated Press that his group has "no doubt" documentation presented by Croatia has been "partly forged."
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 European Commission has allowed Croatian winemakers to use the name under certain conditions, but Slovenia has challenged the decision, demanding a review of the case. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said during a recent visit to Slovenia that the commission will look into Slovenia's complaint.
"Teran is more than a wine," Colja said. He added that in Slovenia's Kras region, in western Slovenia, "we don't have other industry and because of that Teran is so important."
The European Commission said that 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.
Croatian winemaker Bruno Trapan said that he was disappointed to hear that Slovenia wouldn't share the name.
"It is a very small spread of the grapes and to argue about that is nonsense," he said. "Slovenia again launched a formal protest and I think this is just grasping for straws."
But Colja said Croatian documentation in the case wasn't valid.
"We expect the procedure to be stopped," he said.