EuroCommerce, which represents the retail and wholesale sector in Europe, has welcomed guidance issued by the European Commission on how businesses can get back on track once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
EuroCommerce said that it was important that a gradual opening plan was in place for retailers and wholesalers at risk of bankruptcy, with appropriate safeguards for the health of staff and customers therein.
It also welcomed calls for greater coordination and communication between member states to assist cross-border supply chains, and the lifting of controls at borders that restrict the free flow of goods and people.
'Driver Of Recovery'
'The single market [needs] to be used as a driver for recovery after the worst of the pandemic is over,' EuroCommerce said in a statement. 'We understand and support the measures aimed at supporting local agriculture, food production, and short supply chains to ensure the survival of local agri-food businesses and avoid food waste.
'However, other measures, adopted through rapid legislation during crisis times, may have a tendency to remain in place. Measures should preferably be voluntary, left to market operators working in solidarity with one another, and removed as soon as the pandemic is under control, so that the single market can operate again.'
EuroCommerce said that financial supports must continue to be available to affected retailers and wholesalers after the crisis, particularly those in the non-food sector and with HoReCa capabilities.
With global trade likely to be depressed by as much as 30% post-virus, efforts need to be made to develop international trade as a driver of economic growth, and rebuild supply chains.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine