EuroCommerce: UTP Directive A ‘Witch Hunt’ Against Retailers
EuroCommerce, the body that represents the retail sector in Europe, has described the Unfair Trading Practices directive put forward by the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) committee as a ‘witch hunt’ against retailers and wholesalers.
A debate and vote on the directive took place yesterday, at which the measures were approved.
“The Commission put forward a proposal aimed at protecting farmers and SME processors,” commented EuroCommerce director general Christian Verschueren.
“In the course of parliamentary discussions, driven by slogans such as ‘Fairness for all’, the directive as amended protects big food multinationals, and the debate has turned into a targeted and direct attack on legitimate negotiations between retailers and suppliers,” he added.
EuroCommerce has said that the series of amendments pushed through the Parliament AGRI committee yesterday and in the IMCO committee last week will ‘do nothing for fairness’ in the supply chain, instead imposing a series of restrictions on retailers.
The group also said that the directive will make it more difficult for retailers to negotiate with suppliers, and will do nothing to improve the lot of farmers.
“As voted today, the directive will end up making the strongest players in the market even stronger and the weaker players - farmers, SMEs, and consumers - even weaker,” Verschueren said.
“A witch hunt against retail and wholesale to line the pockets of multinational shareholders and do nothing for farmers is surely not what this directive should be about.”
Lack Of Equality
EuroCommerce concluded by saying that it believes the directive ‘gives rights to sellers, but none to buyers’, which puts into question EU principles on equality of treatment.
The European Parliament says that the directive will provide the 'tools necessary to improve the agricultural producers' bargaining position in the agricultural and food supply chain by introducing a prohibition at EU level of the most blatant cases of unfair practices in their relations with retailers'.
© 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.