Independent Retail Europe Launches Manifesto For 2024 European Elections

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Independent Retail Europe Launches Manifesto For 2024 European Elections

Independent Retail Europe, which represents groups of independent retailers and local retailers at European level, has published its manifesto for the forthcoming EU elections, in which it calls on politicians and the European Commission to adopt a pro-independent retail agenda in the next EU mandate.

The group's manifesto, which is entitled Together for a Stronger Independent Retail Sector in the EU, outlines a number of key focus areas for the sector, including maintaining a strong focus on the competitiveness of independent and SME retail.

It also calls for the preservation of the 'endangered' Single Market and assistance for retailers with digital and sustainability transitions.

'Unprecedented Challenges'

“During the past five years, independent retailers had to face unprecedented challenges, while embracing digital transformation, launching reskilling programmes and boosting sustainability efforts," commented Independent Retail Europe president Thomas Nonn.

"To enable local retailers to cope with these challenges and at the same time invest in the future, we ask for the new 2024-2029 EU mandate to boost competitiveness, defend more strongly the Single Market, and focus first on implementing recent regulatory initiatives."


Core Priorities

The manifesto features four key priorities:

Boost the competitiveness of independent retail. Independent retailers are calling on policymakers to recognise the distinctive cooperative model of groups of independent retailers. They advocate for regulations that are tailored to ensure fair competition. Additionally, the manifesto puts forth specific proposals for a more robust SME policy and emphasises the importance of restoring contractual freedom, which is threatened by the Commission proposal on Late Payments.

Ensure a smooth twin transition for independent retailers. It is essential to prevent regulatory overload and instead prioritise the implementation of existing legislation over the introduction of new regulations. Sustainability policies like the Green Claims Directive and the Sustainable Food Systems Framework should aim to promote sustainable investments while maintaining the viability of businesses. Digital policies should facilitate beneficial online personalisation practices in retail and ensure fairness and equality among all participants in the digital marketplace.

Strengthen the EU Single Market. The European Commission needs to take a stronger stance in defending the integrity of the Single Market. This includes implementing a more robust infringement policy and eliminating unilateral practices by large global suppliers, such as Territorial Supply Constraints, which artificially fragment the single market. Additionally, the Unfair Trading Practices Directive should address unfair practices by these suppliers and safeguard competitiveness within the Single Market.


Reinforce better regulation through a more thorough consultation process. The manifesto proposes enhancements to consultation processes and advocates for better integration of the retail perspective in EU policymaking to avoid unnecessary burdens and large investments for retailers. It emphasises the need to ensure that negative impacts of policies are thoroughly considered and addressed.

'A Key Role'

“Independent retailers across Europe play a key role for local communities and society," added Else Groen, director, Independent Retail Europe. "Their importance and challenges, such as low margins and supply chain complexities, should be better recognised by EU institutions.

"Ahead of the EU elections, we invite EU policy makers and stakeholders to embrace our manifesto’s messages."

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