09 Jan 2017
MEPS WANT ACTIONS TO FIGHT UNFAIR TRADING PRACTICES – 09 JANUARYBrussels Daily
Agriculture MEPs want actions to fight unfair trading practices and make EU competition rules work for farmers too
Members of the Agriculture committee welcomed many proposals of the Commission’s Agricultural Markets Task Force (AMTF) aimed at improving farmers’ position in the food supply chain in a debate with Commissioner Phil Hogan and members of the AMTF on Monday afternoon. But they insisted that these ideas must be put into practice too.
In a public hearing with Commissioner Hogan, AMTF members Helfried Giesen and Anikó Juhász, representatives of farmers and retailers and a member of academia, many MEPs reiterated their call for a swift adoption of an EU law to do away with unfair trading practices and an extension of the so-called Milk package measures, for instance on delivery contracts and collective price negotiations, to other sectors too. This would increase farmers’ bargaining power and ensured they get a fair share of the end price consumers pay for their products, they said.
EU competition rules must be simplified, duly clarified and adjusted to the needs of EU farmers, many MEPs claimed. They also called for more transparency in the food supply chain, new crisis and risk management tools to cope with volatile prices, market imbalances and production risks, and measures to ensure easier access to capital for farmers.
Some MEPs also called for mandatory measures to reduce supply of agricultural products if need be while others criticised the Union for opening its internal market to products from third countries which do not comply with EU’s production standards.
The video-recording of the public hearing will soon be available via VOD.
The Commission’s twelve-strong Agricultural Markets Task Force, chaired by Cees Veerman, was set up in January 2016 to study ways to improve farmers’ position in the food supply chain. The AMTF’s final report was presented in November 2016.
European Parliament in the meantime adopted several reports with concrete recommendations to inter alia do away with unfair trading practices and help farmers deal with volatile prices, market shocks and production risks. The Agriculture committee also adopted a report on ways to boost employment in rural areas, recommendations to make farmers more competitive through innovation and new technologies and an opinion calling for an alignment of the EU’s competition policy with the needs of its agriculture sector.
Monday, 9 January 2017
Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
In the chair: Czesław Adam Siekierski (EPP, PL)