Retailers and wholesalers require a 'predictable and non-discriminatory environment' in which to operate effectively, EuroCommerce has said, following the publication of the European Commission’s third annual Rule of Law report.
The report examines both positive and negative rule of law developments across the EU, as well as the specific situation in each Member State.
Commenting on its publication, European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders said, “The unprovoked and unjustified Russian military aggression against Ukraine shows that protecting and promoting the rule of law is more important than ever. The EU will only remain credible if we uphold the rule of law at home and if we continue to reinforce the rule of law culture."
'Deterioration' In Rule Of Law
According to EuroCommerce, which represents the retail and wholesale sectors in Europe, the report highlights trends that have been in place for a number of years – a deterioration in the rule of law in the EU. This affects not only citizens but also businesses, presenting challenges for those operating across borders, and thus undermining the single market, it added.
Specific matters affecting the sector include issues around the independence of the national judiciary and lengthy procedures to seek redress against national authorities’ decisions; access to the decision-making process on matters specifically affecting retail and wholesale; legislation knowingly in infringements of EU law; and abuse of the implementation of EU legislation.
“Retail and wholesale companies need a predictable and non-discriminatory environment to be able to provide an essential service to Europe’s businesses and consumers," commented EuroCommerce director general Christel Delberghe.
"We welcome the Commission’s work in highlighting where this is not working, where companies are not all treated equally by public authorities and where it is difficult or nearly impossible to get redress. We would therefore ask the Commission in future reports to include a comprehensive separate section looking at the impact of such actions on business."
EuroCommerce added that the Rule of Law report can 'play a vital role in ensuring that legal certainty in all EU member states', and called for more focus to be placed on business impacts in future reports.