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EuroCommerce Raises Concerns About EU Farming Legislation

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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EuroCommerce Raises Concerns About EU Farming Legislation

EuroCommerce has released a statement reaffirming its fears that farmers aren’t getting the right support from legislation, following the European Parliament agriculture committee's new proposals on trading practices.

EuroCommerce director-general Christian Verschueren raised a number of questions on the continued calls from some for legislation, and the Commission’s decision to take the first steps towards proposing EU measures.

"We are pleased that the Commission is following its better regulation guidelines in producing an inception impact assessment for consultation," said Verschueren.

“What we will look for in that process is answers to a set of core questions which any better regulation exercise needs to ask - what a proposed measure will do, what problem is it meant to solve, and whether it will do so. Better regulation is not about a process, but a real commitment, which we have seen the Commission follow, to only put forward measures which address the real problems and help the competitiveness of the European economy."


EuroCommerce said that it will take a ‘constructive part in the consultative process which the Commission will launch with its impact assessment’, however, it asks the following questions;

  • If retailers only buy 5% of the goods they sell direct from farmers, how will imposing EU rules on their contractual negotiations, largely with the large multinational food processors, do anything for farmers?
  • If countries with no legislation, but well-organised farmers, have healthy agricultural sectors, while countries with very intrusive legislation go from one crisis to the next, what effect can EU legislation bring about?
  • If most food retailers buy is from suppliers in the same country as it is sold, not least because large manufacturers fragment the EU market and do not allow cross-border purchasing, what single market issues are being addressed by EU harmonisation?
  • If EU rules still allow fundamentally different national rules to apply, what harmonisation will these achieve?


"We do not downplay the real problems which farmers face, and will support measures which can really address them," added Verschueren. "We want farmers to be able to organise to improve their bargaining power, both in buying vital inputs and selling their produce, while respecting competition rules."

“We support ideas around market transparency and contractualisation, as well as other measures to help farmers weather the inevitable volatility that a global market involves. Above all, retailers want to build a real dialogue at European and national level to help ensure that farmers can produce the food in the right quantities and quality consumers want to buy. No legislation will ever be a substitute for that."

Last week EuroCommerce called for EU legislation to take into account what farmers need in order to fulfil their full potential and receive their due rewards.

© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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