Strong support for EU action for a fairer food supply chain

07.06.2016 12:54

Strong support for EU action for a fairer food supply chain

Important notice
Views expressed here are the views of the national delegation and do not always reflect the views of the group as a whole
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“MEPs today called for the introduction of EU framework legislation to tackle Unfair Trading Practices in the Food Supply Chain in order to ensure that European farmers and consumers have the opportunity to benefit from fair selling and buying conditions”, Mairead McGuinness MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament said in welcoming Tuesday’s vote in Strasbourg.

MEP McGuinness led negotiations for the EPP Group on the issue of Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs), authoring the Agriculture Committee’s Opinion on the topic and spear-heading the drive for EU action to eradicate UTPs from the food supply chain.

“Unfair trading practices, such as delaying payments, overcharging and underpaying its suppliers, are an unwelcome reality in the food supply chain. They damage producers and ultimately reduce consumer choice. They also impact negatively on the sustainability of our food supply chain.

“Today, the European Parliament voted in favour of an Internal Market report and a call for an EU-wide framework legislation to tackle this issue. This vote is significant in sending a strong signal to the European Commission calling for greater action, and is a warning to those who engage in unfair trading practices that their actions will not be tolerated.”

"Already, some 20 member states have taken action to address these practices and stamp them out through a range of legislative actions. The problem is EU-wide and demands a European response above and beyond the voluntary action (supply chain initiative) supported by the supply chain, in particular retailers, but which does not command the support of farmers.”

Importantly, MEPs noted that such European framework legislation must not lower the level of protection in countries that have adopted national legislation to combat business-to-business UTPs.

“Today's vote comes at a time of intense pressure on agricultural markets with low product prices and concerns about the viability of many farm families. The issue of unfair trading practices is a constant concern for producers who are generally powerless to regulate the price they get paid for their produce, which tends to be set by a much smaller number of stakeholders in the supply chain with enormous power to dictate terms and conditions.

“This imbalance of power is exacerbated by unfair trading practices, which are widely recognised as being  a real problem in the food supply chain and do nothing to benefit consumers or producers, but play into the hands of the larger and very powerful entities  in the chain.

"It is of paramount importance that the Commission now reflects again on the need to introduce specific proposals for a harmonised EU regulatory approach on UTPs and an appropriate range of sanctions for those who violate the anti-UTP rules. Anything less would be insufficient," added McGuinness.

Note to editors

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 215 Members from 27 Member States

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