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You'll find in this section and below a library of resources (mostly) produced by EuroCommerce by type and in chronological order. If you are looking for resources related to a certain subject, issue or policy area, browse our policy areas section.

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A single Benelux retail market way forward for EU
20 Feb 2017 open-close-item
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EuroCommerce today praised the initiative of Benelux to look at ways of creating a single retail market as a model for making the wider European Single Market work better for EU consumers, whether they buy products and services online or offline.

Christian Verschueren marked the launch of the study commissioned by Benelux, ‘Benelux Retail 2025’, looking at ways of creating a Single Market for retail in the Benelux countries:

“Retailers and wholesalers have long pointed to the many and significant barriers to doing business across borders in the EU.  The Benelux initiative on jobs and growth launched by the  Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourg prime ministers in 2015 are valuable pointers for how consumers in all countries of EU could benefit if Single Market barriers were removed, and the digital and offline market worked as it should. We are keen to see the recommendations quickly implemented and used as a model for the whole EU.”

The study shows that the Benelux could play a pivotal role in showing the EU the way forward in successfully integrating the three national markets to the benefit of growth, jobs and consumers, including in creating a stronger digital market. Benelux countries could benefit from this by creating 95,000 new jobs and 36,000 new enterprises.

Many retailers already think of the Benelux as their second home market, but still feel restrained in trading cross-border. EuroCommerce was particularly pleased to see the report reflect a number of issues holding back retailers and wholesalers in Benelux and the EU, and calling for action on these issues: gold-plating of EU legislation when member states implement it, different labelling requirements, different product standards and 28 different VAT regimes, slow application of mutual recognition, divergent payments systems, and growing problems arising from manufacturers imposing restrictions on where and what retailers can buy.

“These areall issues which hold backretail across Europe from offering consumers choice, and the best products at the bestprice. Action by Benelux to create a Single Market for the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg can show the way for Europe at a time when the EU urgently needs new impetus to create growth and jobs”, Verschueren added.

~ENDS~

 

For further information, please contact:

Neil McMillan - +32 2 737 05 99 - mcmillan@eurocommerce.eu

Kinga Timaru-Kast - +32 2 894 64 83 – timaru@eurocommerce.eu

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Contribution of retail and wholesale SMEs to the EU economy
16 Feb 2017 open-close-item
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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in retail and wholesale are a major source of growth and jobs. 30% of all European SMEs across all sectors are in retail and wholesale. SMEs in the sector also generated a combined turnover of Euro 5.5 trillion in 2014 in a highly competitive and ever-changing market environment. They are a major source of diversity, vitality and innovation. Today, they face a number of key challenges, including digital transformation, major administrative burdens, complex regulation, difficult access to finance and the availability of a trained work-force. They are continuously adapting to this changing landscape, but require appropriate support to meet these challenges.

EuroCommerce welcomes the Commission’s Start-up and Scale-up Initiative and its comprehensive overview of ongoing and upcoming initiatives by the Commission to reduce burdens for small companies, especially those that have just started or are scaling up. We look forward to contributing to the implementation of these proposed measures, but also highlight that the problems addressed in the Initiative should also provide solutions for traditional SMEs and focus more widely than just on high-tech start-ups.

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Retailers and Wholesalers applaud European Parliament Approval of EU-Canada Trade Deal
15 Feb 2017 open-close-item
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EuroCommerce very much welcomed the European Parliament’s plenary vote today approving ratification of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada (CETA). The agreement has now passed an important hurdle and can be provisionally applied, starting this spring.

Director-General Christian Verschueren said:

“Today’s vote is an important contribution to the creation of badly-needed growth and jobs in Europe. Especially at a time of political uncertainty we need an approach that ensures a sound international trading environment. CETA is a good deal both for European companies and European consumers.”

This welcome vote still, however, leaves several important trade deals sadly overdue. European retailers and wholesalers continue to call for a mutually beneficial outcome to ongoing negotiations with major players like Japan, India and the United States, building on a strengthened multilateral system under the World Trade Organisation.

Verschueren added: 

“Without free trade, everyone in the world ends up poorer, and trade barriers simply mean stopping people having the choice of buying the best the world can offer at a price they can afford.”

 ~ENDS~

For further information, please contact:

Neil McMillan - +32 2 737 05 99 - mcmillan@eurocommerce.eu

Kinga Timaru-Kast - +32 2 894 64 83 – timaru@eurocommerce.eu

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Dual Use – New Regulation
01 Feb 2017 open-close-item
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Ensuring security is not only a guiding factor for our member companies but also guiding principle for our activities. We are convinced that the highest level of security can be reached with rules that are realisable and implementable for everyone. There should be no minimum company size to engage in international trade. Unfortunately, we are already in a situation in which the regulatory requirements cannot be fulfilled without risking the competitiveness of the companies. Even large companies with their own legal departments can nowadays hardly fulfil all the requirements in due time. As a result, some companies have stopped doing business with some countries just because they do not have the resources to cope with the extremely complex aspects of export controls. That is not good for EU trade and undermines our competitiveness.

EuroCommerce hence welcomes the Commissions ambition to modernise the export-control regulation, and would in particular like to welcome the proposed extension of the general export licenses and the addition of Union general transfer authorisations as these will reduce the administrative burdens and contribute to a level playing field within the EU and beyond.

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Egg and poultry meat sectors and retailers unite to call for common sense approach to status of free range eggs and poultry meat
31 Jan 2017 open-close-item
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Representatives of EUWEP, Copa & Cogeca, AVEC and EuroCommerce today called upon the European Commission to look urgently at the current rules on how long poultry flocks might be kept indoors before losing their free range status.

The H5N8 strain of bird flu at present sweeping across Europe, due to the migration of wild birds, has led to national authorities requiring poultry flocks to be kept indoors to avoid infection, which has been a successful strategy. Over 80% of free range laying hens in the EU are now being housed indoors to protect them, complying with the housing orders issued by national authorities. The present rules require the eggs from laying flocks kept indoors beyond a 12-week threshold to be downgraded from free range to barn. Many parts of the EU will reach this threshold in the next few days. There is now a real possibility that, because of this situation, very few free range eggs will be available to consumers in the EU.

We are therefore joining together to call on the European Commission to issue a derogation to allow free range flocks, that remain housed after 12 weeks because of the present bird flu problem, to be able to maintain their free range status for a slightly longer period, i.e. what is required by veterinary authorities. Losing this status will hit farmers hard who have invested heavily in free range facilities.

It could also cause real disruption in the supply chain, since the repackaging and relabelling which this change will require, not just for fresh eggs, but for all products ranging from sandwiches to pasta using free range eggs, is simply not possible given the timescales.

Mark Williams, Secretary-General of EUWEP (EU association for egg packers, egg traders and egg processors) said: “We are facing exceptional circumstances across the EU and this calls for exceptional measures to be taken at this time. The simple solution is for the European Commission to allow the 12 weeks to be extended across the EU for a short period to get past this time of heightened disease challenge. We now need the Commission to act quickly in the interest of consumers and farmers, whilst ensuring total transparency and trust in the free range egg sector.”

Pekka Pesonen, Secretary-General of Copa and Cogeca, went on to say, “The presence of the virus in the EU is clearly outside of farmers’ control, as it is due to the migration of wild birds. In view of the exceptional circumstances, we cannot accept that the farmer who has invested heavily in free range facilities would have to bear the cost of reclassification of his eggs. It is very important to provide exceptional support to those producers that will suffer income losses due to mandatory public health measures. Furthermore, we call on the European Commission to work with us and our partners on longer term solutions for the sectors”.

Supporting the poultry producers, Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce, on behalf of retailers said: “We stand side-by-side with the farmers and the egg and poultry meat sectors on this issue. We of course want consumers to be confident that they are getting the product that they are paying for, but applying rapidly the “12-week-in-house” threshold as a trigger to downgrade free range eggs is disproportionate in these exceptional circumstances. If these sectors are forced by national veterinary authorities to keep birds indoors, it would be appropriate that

 

 

European authorities should not insist on a rule which will risk putting some of our valued partners’ very existence at risk. We support the sectors in calling for a common sense approach to this issue and maintaining consumer confidence.”

 

ENDS

 

 

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

EUWEP

The European Union of Wholesale with Eggs, Egg Products and Poultry and Game (EUWEP) was founded in 1957 and is the representative body in the European Union for egg packers, egg traders, egg processors, and poultry and game.  It brings together three European organisations:

•       European Egg Packers and Traders Association (EEPTA), representing egg packers and traders.

•       European Egg Processors Association (EEPA), representing egg processors.

•       European Poultry and Game Association

Contact: Mark Williams, Secretary-General
Telephone: + 44 20 7608 3860
Email: mark.williams@euwep.org

___________________________________________

Copa and Cogeca

Copa-Cogeca are the united voice of farmers and agri-cooperatives in the EU. Together, they ensure that EU agriculture is sustainable, innovative and competitive, guaranteeing food security to half a billion people throughout Europe. Copa represents over 23 million farmers and their family members, whilst Cogeca represents the interests of 22,000 agricultural cooperatives. They have almost 70 member organisations from the EU member states.

WWW.copa-cogeca.eu

Contact: Amanda Cheesley, Press Officer
Telephone: + 32 (0)2 287 27 90/+32 (0) 474 84 08 36
Email: Amanda.cheesley@copa-cogeca.eu
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________________________________________

 

 

a.v.e.c

a.v.e.c. is since 1966 representing and promoting the interests of the European poultry meat sector. Members are national organisations representing poultry processors and the poultry trade in 16 EU countries with about 95% of the EU poultry meat production. The European poultry meat business employs more than 300 000 citizens and has a turnover of more than 32 billion Euros.

Contact: Cees Vermeeren
Telephone: +3222381082 
Email: cv@avec-poultry.eu

___________________________________________

 

EuroCommerce

EuroCommerce is the principal European organisation representing the retail and wholesale sector. It embraces national associations in 31 countries and 5.4 million companies, both leading multinational retailers such as Carrefour, Ikea, Metro and Tesco and many small family operations. Retail and wholesale provide a link between producers and 500 million European consumers over a billion times a day. It generates 1 in 7 jobs, providing a varied career for 29 million Europeans, many
of them young people. It also supports millions of further jobs throughout the supply chain, from small local suppliers to international businesses. EuroCommerce is the recognised European social partner for the retail and wholesale sector.

Contact: Kinga Timaru-Kast
Telephone: +32 2 894 64 83
Email: timaru@eurocommerce.eu

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EuroCommerce launches Food Waste Brochure
26 Jan 2017 open-close-item
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Retail and wholesale have shown a consistent commitment to putting food to good use, and are pursuing a whole range of measures to avoid food waste all along the supply chain - before delivery, in stores and beyond. Consumers’ preferences, their personal requirements and restrictions differ from one country to another, and often within an individual country. Companies tailor their approaches and their business models accordingly.

The solutions to food waste highlighted in this publication illustrate how the sector is addressing the food waste challenge, working with suppliers and consumers. These examples – and there are many more - have been chosen to show the breadth and variety of how retailers and wholesalers are tackling waste, and include both company-specific and country experiences.

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Retailers press for rules that help, not hinder tackling food waste
26 Jan 2017 open-close-item
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Retailers and wholesalers today called on national governments and the EU to make it easier to reduce food waste and increase food donation. While all parties in the food chain have a responsibility, and therefore a role to play, in solving this global problem, governments need to help as well. Europeans throw away more than 88 million tonnes of food every year. If there is no action to change this, food waste could rise to over 120 million tonnes by 2020. Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce, said: “It is a scandal, both environmentally and socially, that wholesome food goes to waste. We call upon the EU and national governments to look carefully at their rules and help address the obstacles holding us all back from exploiting the potential for moving closer to eliminating food waste.”

In this context, retailers and wholesalers are encouraged by the European Parliament own-initiative report drafted by Biljana Borzan MEP (HR, S&D) and endorsed by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee yesterday. The draft report also recommends that these governments support these actions, for example through tax exemptions for food donations. The own-initiative report also calls for an EU food waste hierarchy and definition. As the recent European Court of Auditors’ report on food waste also suggests, there are plenty of opportunities and solutions available, without the need for additional legislation or costs. We need European and national policies and regulation which are smart and allow market players to come up with innovative solutions to tackling food waste.

However, retailers have not waited for government action to be part of the solution. Christian Verschueren added: “Although retailers account for no more than 5% of the waste generated, we recognise our role in reducing waste, starting with our own operations, but also increasingly encouraging major reductions in food waste where it occurs most: in the home and upstream in the food chain.”

To document the many ways in which retailers help to reduce food waste and loss, EuroCommerce is launching today a report “Rising to the Food Waste Challenge” setting out best practice and case studies from its own members, such as :

  • reducing waste in their own stores by improving inventories
  • working with farmers and suppliers to better match production with retail demand
  • encouraging consumers to make the most of the food they buy in simple ways, such as explaining the difference between “use by” and “best before” dates, and suggesting recipes for using up leftovers
  • processing unattractive but nutritious fruit and vegetables into salads or soups
  • working with food banks and charities to donate food that is not sold.

 

These are all in line with the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Food Waste Resolution, a pledge by leading food companies and retailers to halve food wasted in their operations by 2025. The report was released and discussed at a dinner today hosted by Mrs Borzan, who explicitly recognised the successful voluntary action already being adopted in different parts of the value chain, and in particular retail.

~ENDS~

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SCI 3rd Annual Report
24 Jan 2017 open-close-item
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The report shows that a large majority of companies are satisfied with how the initiative has helped them in their relationships with others in the supply chain. 71% respondents say that they are either satisfied or very satisfied. The figures for SMEs show a similar result, with two-thirds reporting satisfaction with the initiative. There is real progress also in training: 93% of companies report having trained their staff (up from 87% last year) – some 37,000 (compared to 20,000 in 2015). 86% have told their business partners that they are registered under the SCI and explained the commitments that they have made.

The number of complaints reported remains low: 43 companies report facing an alleged breach of the SCI principles in 2016. 70% of these were resolved informally. 9 companies report having received 44 complaints (49 in 2015 and 39 in 2014), the vast majority of which were resolved internally (52%) or through mediation (44%). 3 companies report receiving complaints from another country.

The report also looks at the reasons why companies are less satisfied with what the initiative delivered: the key reason for disappointment is that their business partners are not registered with the SCI.

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SCI – Year 3 – keeping momentum and bringing change
24 Jan 2017 open-close-item
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The Supply Chain Initiative (SCI) marked further progress in promoting good trading practices in its third annual report presented at an event today sponsored by MEPs Dita Charanzová and Ivan Štefanec.

The report shows that a large majority of companies are satisfied with how the initiative has helped them in their relationships with others in the supply chain. 71% respondents say that they are either satisfied or very satisfied. The figures for SMEs show a similar result, with two-thirds reporting satisfaction with the initiative. There is real progress also in training: 93% of companies report having trained their staff (up from 87% last year) – some 37,000 (compared to 20,000 in 2015). 86% have told their business partners that they are registered under the SCI and explained the commitments that they have made.

The number of complaints reported remains low: 43 companies report facing an alleged breach of the SCI principles in 2016. 70% of these were resolved informally. 9 companies report having received 44 complaints (49 in 2015 and 39 in 2014), the vast majority of which were resolved internally (52%) or through mediation (44%). 3 companies report receiving complaints from another country.

The report also looks at the reasons why companies are less satisfied with what the initiative delivered: the key reason for disappointment is that their business partners are not registered with the SCI.

Two additional national platforms were established in 2016, in Germany and Portugal, involving farmers, processors and retailers associations.

At the meeting of the High Level Forum for a better functioning food supply chain in December 2016, the SCI presented its proposals for transforming the SCI, and making it stronger and more independent. These include the introduction of an independent chair, who will ensure that rules and procedures are respected; act as a recipient for confidential complaints, issue guidance and recommendations of general interest and promote good practice. The SCI will also focus more on reinforcing the network of national platforms and will strengthen its efforts to raise awareness and reach out to SMEs.

The Governance Group urges policymakers to act in a way which supports continued progress achieved through the SCI, and allows constructive dialogue as a means for improving relationships in the supply chain. They value the participation of all sectors in the SCI and will urge farmers’ organisations to demonstrate their support in improving relations in the supply chain and join the SCI.

 

For more information:

AIM: Alain Galaski, alain.galaski@aim.be

Celcaa: Pascale Rouhier, p.rouhier@celcaa.eu

Euro Coop: Todor Ivanov, tivanov@eurocoop.coop

EuroCommerce: Kinga Timaru-Kast, timaru@eurocommerce.eu

European Retail Round Table: Susanne Czech, s.czech@errt.org

FoodDrinkEurope: Mella Frewen, m.frewen@fooddrinkeurope.eu

Independent Retail Europe: Else Groen, else.groen@independentretaileurope.eu

 

Note to the Editors:

The Supply Chain Initiative was launched in September 2013 by a group of 7 EU-level associations representing the food and drink industry (FoodDrinkEurope), the branded goods manufacturers (AIM- European Brands Association), the retail sector (the European Retail Round Table (ERRT), EuroCommerce, Euro Coop and Independent Retail Europe), and agricultural traders (CELCAA).

The SCI aims to implement and enforce a set of good practice principles agreed by 11 EU-level organisations, including Copa-Cogeca. Companies subscribe on a voluntary basis to the principle of good practice and a set of commitments to ensure fair treatment of all partners in the food supply chain. The SCI is designed to ensure that registered companies respect their commitments towards other market operators and benefit from a set of dispute resolutions options.

Today, the SCI involves 380 groups and companies representing over 1,160 national operating companies, that signed up to the Principles of Good Practice and SCI commitments. 69.3% of the companies registered are SMEs.

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European private employers’ statement on the European pillar of social rights
19 Jan 2017 open-close-item
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European employers strongly believe in the European Union and its centre piece the Single Market, which provides a framework for companies to grow, create employment and thereby contribute to social progress in Europe. In the field of social affairs, the EU Treaty makes it clear that EU actions can only complement the Member States in their responsibility to shape social policy, regulate labour markets and design and manage national social systems. The European pillar of social rights should respect this division of responsibilities.

It is enterprises that will drive improvements in the prosperity of European citizens by investing in Europe, generating more growth and creating jobs. To do so, they have to be competitive and need a business-friendly environment, with highly performing services of general interest. The specific needs of SMEs have to be properly taken into account. A tightening of labour and social security laws would therefore be the wrong approach.


Europe stands out globally as the region with the highest levels of social well-being and social equity. Overall and despite differences among EU Member States, the EU is the region with the most widely developed social systems in global comparison. While the EU represents 7% of the world population, it produces 20% of global GDP and its share in worldwide public spending on social provisions is around 40%.


Europe’s economic and social challenges are interlinked and require integrated action at all levels. The persisting social problems in Europe are not due to a lack of social policy measures, but to a lack of global competitiveness. Therefore the sole focus on social rights in the Commission’s proposed pillar is not the right approach. Social challenges will only be tackled through economic growth, creation of new wealth and expansion of employment. Social partnership should be respected and promoted as a fundamental part of achieving these cross-cutting policy objectives.


The difficulties encountered in achieving economic and social convergence in Europe in recent years can to a large extent be explained by inadequate implementation of national structural reforms. Framework conditions for enterprises need to be improved and weaknesses present on national labour markets properly addressed to achieve better social outcomes in Europe. Concerning EU legislation, it is essential to focus on proper enforcement and application of existing EU social legislation instead of constantly producing revisions and new initiatives which create uncertainties for business about rules to apply in the future and undermine employment creation.

EU Member States also need to continue with efforts to strengthen their public finances. European fiscal rules and banking regulation, as well as investment policies should aim to foster growth-friendly fiscal consolidation and allow for sufficient productive public and private investment contributing to productivity gains in the economy, including in transport and energy infrastructure, education, etc.


European employers fully support the European Union’s aim to work for the sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress. They underline that, to be sustainable, national social systems need to be constantly adapted to changing economic and social realities, for example to better meet the needs to re-skill or up-skill those who will be affected by digitalisation. The challenges deriving from new business models and forms of work in an increasingly digital economy provide an opportunity to rethink and improve the way our labour markets and social systems are organised nationally.


European employers support the European Commission’s efforts to strengthen coordination of national policies to improve economic development in the Member States, and support gradual convergence of living and working conditions across Europe. The European semester process should remain the main policy vehicle to progress on addressing Europe’s structural weaknesses from the viewpoint of the economy as part of a coherent European strategy.


The EU, Member States and social partners need to work together to support necessary reforms. Progress is needed in some countries in particular. This is crucial to improving ownership and implementation of national labour market reforms. In this, the competences of the EU and Member States and social partners’ autonomy must be respected. This means that the subsidiarity principle, as enshrined in the Treaty, should be at the centre of policy orientation.


Concerning the work on benchmarks envisaged as part of a European pillar of social rights this should be done within the European semester process, without creating a parallel system. This should also avoid duplicating already existing indicators such as the scoreboard of key employment and social indicators. Well-designed benchmarks can act as a compass for the necessary national reforms aiming to increase the performance of labour markets and of social systems.

Such a benchmark exercise should be applied only where it is appropriate considering the subject. There should be a clear prioritisation in the issues covered focusing on those that will have a positive impact on competitiveness, employment, and sustainability and adequacy of social systems. This exercise should be a joint endeavour of the Council, Commission, Member States and social partners.


Benchmarking should also fully respect the limits of EU competences and the subsidiarity principle according to the Treaty, as well as the autonomy of social partners in member states and fully respect national wage setting structures.

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Filter by:

all

2017

2016

2015

2014

Filter by:

all

2017

2016

2015

2014

older

Consumer rights

Corporate social responsibility

Employment and social affairs

Environment

European retail action plan

Food, nutrition and health

Internal market

International trade

Logistics

Non-Food

Payment systems

SMEs

Social dialogue

Supply chain

Taxation

Filter by:

all

Consumer rights

Corporate social responsibility

Employment and social affairs

Environment

European retail action plan

Food, nutrition and health

Internal market

International trade

Logistics

Non-Food

Payment systems

SMEs

Social dialogue

Supply chain

Taxation