EuroCommerce: Christmas Rush No Longer About Protecting Farmers
EuroCommerce, the group that represents the retail and wholesale industries across Europe, has expressed its dismay at an Agriculture Council decision to create a new class of 'mid-range company' to be covered by the UTP Directive.
“We are told that in order to protect family farms, the Council is proposing to extend the scope of this directive to cover mid-sized food manufacturers," said Christian Verschueren, director general of EuroCommerce.
"The figures being discussed no longer bear any relationship with the interests of farmers. How many family farms have a turnover of 300 million euros? This is a power grab to regulate transactions involving already very profitable manufacturers, with not even a cursory effort to judge its legality or its impact on the rest of the economy, not least consumers.”
Negotiations are set to continue today (19 December) in a bid to get a deal organised before Christmas, and EuroCommerce said that this latest discussion has 'left behind' the purpose of the directive, which was to benefit farmers.
“The negotiations are no longer about farmers, and instead about strengthening the position of manufacturers who have no obligation to pass on any of the benefit to farmers," said Verschueren.
"Indeed, the directive would cover, for example a chocolate bar with almost no ingredients sourced in the EU, yet we are told that this will help European farmers. The directive as amended is discriminatory, bad law, goes far beyond its legal base, and, as such, is legally challengeable.”
EuroCommerce believes that the UTP Directive, which also seeks to introduce regulation on SME buyers, 'adds up to a discriminatory skewing of the market in favour of manufacturers, who already enjoy much higher margins than retailers, and is thus a further breach of basic EU principles of equality before the law'.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.