UK MEPs want EU to learn from British best practice in food supply chain

12-Feb-2015 @ 11:45

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Daniel Dalton Daniel Dalton

UK MEPs want EU to learn from British best practice in food supply chain

Conservative and Ulster Unionist MEPs from two key European Parliament Committees met today to co-ordinate their efforts to ensure a fair deal for farmers from big retailers.

The Internal Market and Agriculture committees of the parliament are both considering how to address imbalances in the European trading relationships, particularly how to ensure fairness in the food supply chain and the relationship between retailers, distributors and farmers.

ECR Group members Richard Ashworth MEP and Jim Nicholson MEP, of the Agriculture Committee, met Vicky Ford MEP, Chairman of the Internal Market Committee and fellow committee-member Dan Dalton MEP to discuss a joint approach.  

The UK has led the way in responding to unfair commercial practices. It has implemented a voluntary Grocery Code of Conduct supported by an "Adjudicator" who has the power to name and shame or even impose fines on those who unfairly wield their might.  This approach was established just a few years ago and needs to be given the time to have an impact.   Proposals for a  top-down mandatory regulatory framework at the European level will not work. The Conservative and Unionist Members do not believe this would be in the best interests of the producers, retailers, or consumers.

The ECR MEPs pointed to existing tools, such as producer organisations and collaboration arrangements, as measures which they believe could increase bargaining power for producers and bring greater balance to the food supply chain.

Increased transparency on pricing and margins would also strengthen the hand of the producers in negotiations, they agreed.

In a joint statement they said: "Your UK ECR Members call on the EU and other European states to give the UK model time to prove its effectiveness and believe that this voluntary way is preferable to mandatory regulation."

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