EU task force backs UK's Groceries Adjudicator system

16-Nov-2016 @ 17:00

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EU task force backs UK's Groceries Adjudicator system

New EU-wide proposals to help farmers secure a better deal for their products feature support for a system pioneered in Britain.

Long awaited findings from the European Commission's Agricultural Markets Task Force (AMTF) highlight the value of independent national adjudicators. The UK Government appointed a Groceries Code Adjudicator in 2013 to regulate the relationship between supermarkets and their suppliers and AMTF chairman Cees Verman visited Britain to see the scheme in operation at the invitation of Conservative Agriculture spokesman, Richard Ashworth MEP.

The AMTF report calls for "the implementation of effective enforcement regimes in Member States, such as through the use of an adjudicator."

Mr Ashworth said: "I am pleased the task force has recognised the value of the British model, which has been previously cited as an example of best practice. I also welcome its suggestion that the EU has a role in defining unfair trading practices, its call for enhanced co-operation among farmers and the focus on the need to improve farmers' access to finance.

"However, I urge the Commission to think carefully before introducing any EU legislation to regulate the market which might simply complicate life for farmers without offering any benefits."

He added: "This report is an important starting point. It is now up to the Commission to act in the best interests of Europe's farmers."

The 12-strong task force comprised 12 industry experts from across the EU, including David Dobbin, Group Chief Executive of United Dairy Farmers in the UK.

The Commission is expected to issue policy proposals next year.

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