Copa and Cogeca voiced its dissatisfaction over the Commission’s failure to discuss new EU legislation on tackling unfair trading practices, but confirmed it was pleased “weaknesses [in the supply chain] have been recognised”.
In a statement published earlier this week, the body said campaigning for measures to tackle unfair trading practices was a top priority.
“Together with MEPs, we have been calling for EU legislation to effectively curb unfair trading practices and ensure a fair and more balanced food supply chain,” said Copa and Cogeca secretary-general Pekka Pesonen in Brussels.
“This is a priority for us. We have been pushing for legislation that, combined with voluntary agreements and backed up by strong, independent third-party enforcement, would deliver a solution that will work for farmers, processors, retailers and consumers.
“Even if Copa and Cogeca agreed, in 2011, with the principles of good practice, we could not sign up to the voluntary Supply Chain Initiative (SCI), which was agreed in 2013 by processors and retailers, as it does not sufficiently address anonymous complaints or provide sufficient sanctions for bad practices or have an adequate independent enforcement mechanism,” he said.
“In this report, the Commission recognises the weaknesses of the SCI and calls for them to be dealt with. This is welcome news. We also welcome the Commission’s indication that the SCI should grant investigatory and sanctioning powers to an independent body.”
Pesonen added: “The fact that 20 member states have, or are about to introduce, national legislation in this area demonstrates to us that the problem of unfair trading practices is an EU-wide problem that needs an EU-wide solution.
“We believe, ultimately, that legislation is needed to provide a level playing field to minimise EU market fragmentation and distortions of competition – a major concern for farmers and agri-cooperatives.”