Price war may force EU to take measures

25 September 2013

Price war may force EU to take measures

This morning the European Parliament considered the report from SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong on the retail trade in Europe.

Dennis de JongOne of the topics raised was the price war in the Netherlands and the pressure put on suppliers by supermarket chains such as PLUS, as De Jong explains. ‘In my report I call on the European Commission not for the moment to propose any legislation on relations between supermarkets, suppliers and producers in the food chain,’ he says. ‘Instead, the recent voluntary initiative taken by the sector should be given a fair chance. In my opinion, PLUS is transgressing this code of conduct, and it’s now a matter of sound enforcement. If the voluntary initiative doesn’t succeed in this, there’s now enough support in the Parliament for legislation. I’ll therefore be continuing to follow developments closely and won’t hesitate to bring legislation forward if it turns out that PLUS is not brought to book within a week.’

Next Monday in Brussels will see the start of the implementation of ‘principles of good practice in the food chain’, which covers relations between supermarkets, suppliers and farmers. Dutch supermarkets have signed up to the pact, an initiative praised by De Jong in his report, though he expresses also doubts as to whether it will be properly enforced. ‘Enforcement of the agreement depends at the moment entirely on “naming and shaming” and “naming and faming”, and other sanctions are not specified,’ he notes. ‘For these reasons many farmers’ groups have not signed up. If it turns out now that the agreement isn’t working, additional sanctions such as fines or compensation for losses in the event that the code of conduct isn’t being respected.’

De Jong’s report was today well –received by the Internal Market Committee, which will vote on its adoption on November 5th. Vote in plenary will take place on December 10th.

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