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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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Supply Chain Initiative appoints Independent Chair
08 Nov 2017 open-close-item
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The Governance Group of the Supply Chain Initiative (SCI) is proud to announce the appointment of Michael Hutchings as its Independent Chair. This is a decisive step in strengthening the governance and impartiality of the Initiative, following up on a commitment made at the High-Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain last year. Mr Hutchings will bring enhanced impartiality and a keen eye to the work of the Initiative. He will help strengthen the dispute resolution mechanism, to make it work even better for all players in the supply chain.

Mr Hutchings has extensive experience of working with companies and trade associations in the grocery sector, and was closely involved in the UK competition inquiry that led to the adoption of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice and the appointment of the Groceries Code Adjudicator. He is an English lawyer specialised in competition and EU law. He was a partner with Lovell White Durrant (now Hogan Lovells) for 15 years, and managed their Brussels office in the mid-1980s. He has been working as an independent lawyer since 1996.

“I am delighted to join the Supply Chain Initiative as Independent Chair. This initiative has grown considerably in the course of its four years existence. Its Principles of Good Practice are increasingly gaining traction across the food supply chain, creating a strong basis for encouraging good practice and supporting operators to find solutions to problems when they arise. I am looking forward to contributing to this process, handling confidential complaints, and working with members of the SCI to issue guidance, recommendations of general interest and promote good practice.“ Mr Hutchings said today.

The appointment of the Independent Chair comes together with an important revision of the SCI rules, and both represent a significant step forward in improving a platform, which advocates for a fairer supply chain and resolves disputes where they arise. Since its launch in 2013, the SCI has attracted over 1,160 national operating companies, nearly 70% of which are SMEs, to sign up to the Principles of Good Practice and SCI commitments.

The Governance Group is also pleased to announce that Fabienne Eckert has joined the SCI as Project Manager, running its day-to-day activities. Ms Eckert is an independent consultant in the field of public affairs and communications. She brings to the SCI proven experience in stakeholder relations, and in association and project management.

 ~ENDS~ 

For more information:
- SCI manager : Fabienne Eckert, info@supplychaininitiative.eu
- 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

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Retail and wholesale SMEs working for growth
08 Nov 2017 open-close-item
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The publication sets out those challenges, and provides examples of how SMEs and their business associations across Europe are working successfully to embrace change, train their staff, and contribute to the vitality of city centres.

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Small retailers and wholesalers call for support to embrace digital
08 Nov 2017 open-close-item
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Today, at EuroCommerce’s annual SME Day, retail and wholesale entrepreneurs shared their experiences of doing business in a tough trading environment. They showed how they were equipping themselves and their people to face and take advantage of the digital challenge. They called on EU decision-makers to support them in taking advantage of the digital revolution; digital skills are in short supply in the whole economy, and smaller traders lack the time to find them, and the resources to build digital expertise.

Speaking at the event, Kenneth Bengtsson, President of EuroCommerce, said:

“SMEs need support at all levels, local, national and European, to grasp the new opportunities of offered by digital technologies and new consumer behaviour. With the right support, they stand ready to innovate and develop new services to serve their customers better. Decision-makers are, I know, aware of this challenge, and we look to them to support our SMEs, but also to ensure a level playing field for all forms and channels of retail and wholesale.”

The 6th edition of the SME Day also marked the launch of a new EuroCommerce report “Retail and wholesale SMEs working for growth”. The publication sets out those challenges, and provides examples of how SMEs and their business associations across Europe are working successfully to embrace change, train their staff, and contribute to the vitality of city centres.

~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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Wholesale in the age of change – where can the EU help?
07 Nov 2017 open-close-item
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Wholesalers are essential players in the value chain of many sectors. With technological developments, in particular digital, and other external factors, B2B traders and service companies have had to re-examine their role and business models. Digital technology is transforming wholesale as it does other sectors of the economy, and new skills are needed to meet this challenge to contribute to a competitive EU economy.

MEP Brando Benifei, speaking at the 5th annual Wholesale Day organised by EuroCommerce, said: “The European Parliament is committed to boosting the skills required to reply to the needs of a transformed economy through digitisation of the European industries and services sectors. Wholesalers have to take up this challenge of our age and have already proven successfully to do so in many e-commerce B2B activities. Promoting digital skills will help workers and businesses to adapt to new technologies. The EU New Skills Agenda therefore has a digital focus and will help increase the productivity and competitiveness of Europe’s workforce.”

Wholesale in Europe represents almost 2 million companies, EUR 6 trillion in turnover, and 10 million jobs. As the principal EU association for wholesale and retail, EuroCommerce called for policymakers to recognise the contribution of B2B trade to growth, jobs and wealth in Europe, and set policies that help the sector to contribute to the European economy in an efficient and productive way.

Though not always visible to the general public, wholesale is a major job engine at the centre of Europe’s economy. It plays a pivotal role as an interface between producers, importers, manufacturers, retail and service providers. More than 7% of the EU’s non-financial business economy workforce is in the B2B sector. As wholesale offers high-quality skilled jobs, its labour productivity is above average. Most of the jobs in wholesale are generated by SMEs. Companies in many sectors benefit greatly from the know-how and the product diversity offered daily by wholesalers across the EU.

Kenneth Bengtsson, President of EuroCommerce underlined the need for EU policy to support this transformation: “Wholesale is crucial for Europe´s growth and employment. Wholesale companies are at the heart of trade in goods and services worldwide, providing consumers with products from all corners of the world. We need the EU to help in dismantling barriers to market access and to make is easier for wholesalers to import and export goods and services.”

Focusing on the importance of partnerships between wholesalers and schools, Bengtsson added: “We also need stronger partnerships between education providers and wholesale companies to provide the right skills for the sector and to make it easier for young people to make the transition into rewarding careers. The sector is already doing its bit in providing a wide range of apprenticeships including training in skills in designing and using new technology.”

~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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Retailers surprised at Commission preempting consultation on supply chain
25 Oct 2017 open-close-item
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Reacting to the announcement in the Commission work programme for 2018 on legislation on practices in the supply chain EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said today:

"We are surprised that the Commission decided in its work programme to announce a decision to move ahead with legislation on the food supply chain. A stakeholder consultation due to feed into an Impact Assessment is currently seeking views on exactly this point until mid-November. This is surely jumping the gun on an important issue where hitherto the Commission has failed to produce any concrete evidence of a problem or how EU legislation can help any farmer improve his income."

As EuroCommerce has pointed out in the past, retailers buy less than 5% of what they sell from farmers direct. Thus there is a danger that EU legislation will be no more than gesture politics and end up with consumers footing the bill.

~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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Prevention better than cure in enforcing EU law
20 Oct 2017 open-close-item
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Speaking along with leading legal experts, politicians, and judges at the conference marking the 25th anniversary of the Academy of European Law (ERA) in Trier, Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce made a strong plea for a proactive approach to enforcing EU law:

“Over recent years, we have seen the rise of protectionism following in the wake of rising populist sentiment in too many parts of Europe. The Single Market and the freedoms guaranteed by the Treaties are central to the construction of Europe. The Single Market has brought immense benefits to individual European consumers and created sustained economic growth across Europe. Yet we see national governments constantly seeking to undermine these achievements with short-sighted protectionist measures”.

EuroCommerce has argued strongly for a triple approach to making the Single Market work: reinforcing the processes enabling the Commission to fulfil its role of guardian of the Treaties, improving implementation and enforcement, and preventing infractions occurring in the first place.

It becomes all the more difficult to unpick damaging national rules once they have been put into law.Hence the support which EuroCommerce has consistently given to the TRIS system of pre-notification of national measures covering goods, which allows the Commission and other stakeholders to comment on rules which may be in breach of EU law. For the same reason, EuroCommerce has supported the Commission in its ideas for strengthening notification under the Services Directive. Verschueren said:

“Too often, Member States do not properly notify national measures covering services, or simply do not do so at all. This affects our members directly. This is why we support new proposals to align rules covering services with those for goods. This is not just a theoretical argument – the present rules make it difficult for retailers and wholesalers to take up their rights under the Single Market to do business without discrimination or unnecessary barriers throughout Europe.”

~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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Retailers and wholesalers call for small companies to get a chance to build the European economy
19 Oct 2017 open-close-item
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SMEs make up the bulk of companies in Europe. Over 90% companies in retail and wholesale; are microbusinesses. The same applies to the hospitality industry.

Speaking today at the General Assembly of HOTREC, the European association of Hotels, Restaurants, Pubs and Cafes, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren set out his vision for future policy for SMEs in Europe:

“Small companies in all sectors face an uphill struggle to deal with the dual challenges of regulation and a fierce competitive environment. They lack the resources to deal with onerous regulations or the barriers to doing business across borders in Europe or outside. Yet they employ large numbers of Europe’s citizens and represent the most promising area of growth in our economy. The EU therefore needs to design regulation to avoid standing in the way of the vibrant entrepreneurial initiative which SMEs can bring to the economy. And we urgently need to help small companies embrace digital transformation and gain access to the finance and skills needed to do so.”

Verschueren also emphasised the need for the Single Market to work for small business – the burden of regulation and national rules making it difficult to do business across Europe falls particularly on small companies.  Strict enforcement of Single Market rules and action to help small companies expand should be priorities for the EU and national governments.

Verschueren added:

“Europe represents the biggest internal market in the world; with the right support, our small companies can, with the right support and the right policies to support them, address this market and bring about the growth in employment and the economy in general that all of us are looking for. Achieving this should be Europe’s priority now, and I call on all governments and the EU institutions to takes the steps now to make it happen.”

~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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EU guidelines on food donation helpful to reducing food waste
17 Oct 2017 open-close-item
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The European Commission adopted yesterday on the World Food Day, EU guidelines on food donation. Retailers and wholesalers welcome these guidelines as supporting efforts to recover and redistribute food to those in need, thereby helping to prevent food waste and fight food poverty in the EU. Retailers and wholesalers work hard to prevent food waste from happening in the first place, but if there is a need for food surplus redistribution, food donation needs to happen and made easier.

Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce said: “We welcome the progress made on a number of practical concerns that retailers, wholesalers, and other stakeholders have raised to help reducing food waste. For example, VAT rates for food donations are now zero or close to zero in many, if not all EU countries.We also welcome the guidelines developed by the Commission as a good overview of relevant legislation that a business should be aware of and take into account when considering food surplus redistribution. However, the guidelines are limited to the interpretation and understanding of relevant EU legislation. We hope that it will also guide Member States in getting rid of national obstacles to donations. For retailers and wholesalers, it is very positive to see that important issues, such as responsibility and legal liability requirements, as well as hygiene, have been clarified in these guidelines.”

We observe an increase in innovative solutions to reduce food waste or increase the effectiveness of food donations, for example in the area of matching of supply and demand by using digital applications. Initiatives such as the FareShare FoodCloud app in the UK, allow local charities and community groups to know how much surplus food they can expect at the end of the day. Christian Verschueren added: “We welcome innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship in this area, as new ideas and new ways of working together are key to reduce food waste. We recommend further promoting them across the EU. Member States can play a role in encouraging these – and creating the right enabling environment.”

EuroCommerce will support and disseminate the EU guidelines among its members. Its members are already committed to addressing food waste and food losses, through their own actions and by working with others. As part of this commitment, EuroCommerce is an active member of the EU Platform on Food Losses & Food Waste, and has participated actively in the drafting process of these EU guidelines. It has also developed guidelines on this subject together with FoodDrinkEurope and the European Federation of Food Banks.

For further reading on the sector’s dedication to reduce food waste: see our report ‘Rising to the food waste challenge’.

~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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Retailers the wrong target for action on the supply chain
12 Oct 2017 open-close-item
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EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren has written today to Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan expressing concern that some of the statements in his speech on 5 October in Dublin could polarise the debate. Verschueren writes in his letter:

“The speech has been portrayed by some of the European press as the Commission “declaring war on retailers”, which, as I am sure you will agree, paints quite a damaging picture of a relationship between the Commission and a sector that is key to providing a reliable supply of food to consumers at reasonable prices. Isn’t this what the CAP chapter of the Treaty, and the Commission as its guardian, also aim to ensure? We worry that by demonising retailers, the issue is again becoming polarised, when the supply chain needs reasoned debate and dialogue, based on factual evidence.”

He also questions whether the announcement in the Commissioner’s speech of the Commission now working towards legislation on so-called unfair trading practices is not premature:

“This surprised us considerably, as the Commission’s consultation leading to the substantive Impact Assessment runs until 17 November.  It is surely rather premature, and not in line with the Commission’s Better Regulation framework, to be announcing now that the Commission has already made up its mind what form any such action should take.”

The letter asks the Commission to provide concrete evidence that EU legislation will be able to achieve its stated aim of improving farmers’ situation in the supply chain:

“The Inception Impact Assessment did not supply any new evidence to support abandonment of the Commission’s conclusion just a year ago that EU-level legislation offered no added value. It only presented a couple of perception studies dating back a number of years, as evidence of a problem between farmers and retailers. And it did not address the basic question which the Commission needs to answer in advocating EU legislation:  if retailers do not deal significantly with farmers, and if most of the practices identified by the Agri-Markets Task Force apply principally or exclusively to retailers’ dealing with large multinational brands, what can EU legislation covering these practices do to help the position of farmers?”

Verschueren concluded by stressing the importance in all of this debate of the consumer: “We agree with the Commission on many points in looking to improve the position of farmers – more transparency, better cooperation among farmers… But if such legislation squeezes retailers further in dealing with their large suppliers, it is the consumer - whom the Inception Impact Assessment incidentally failed to mention once – who will end up footing the bill.”

~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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Consumers and farmers disadvantaged if agriculture exempted from competition rules
10 Oct 2017 open-close-item
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Speaking today, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren warned of the potential unforeseen consequences of pressure from the European Parliament in current trilogue negotiations on the draft Omnibus Regulation that would effectively exempt from EU competition rules possible concerted practices by producer organisations in charging identical prices or controlling quantities of produce.

“We have always supported the principle of improving the organisation and bargaining position of farmers in the supply chain. In those countries where farmers are better organised, they are better placed to negotiate with their – sometimes stronger - trading partners.  We are however worried that the approach proposed by the European Parliament would lead to potentially damaging consequences for wider EU policy objectives.”

In particular, any move to delete the provisions of the Common Market Organisations Regulation covering these activities could result in producer organisations, including some very large multinational organisations such as cooperatives, being able to fix prices internally and between themselves, as well as artificially restricting quantities of produce. This will do nothing to support the efficiency of the farming sector or farmers’ revenues, while, on the other hand, raising prices artificially. This will also increase the power of producer organisations over farmers themselves. A number of national competition investigations have already revealed a damaging impact on farmers’ ability to negotiate fair conditions with such organisations, for example the recent German Cartel Office enquiry into certain dairies.

The corollary to this approach is that this will drive protectionism. Indeed, if producer organisations were in future able to set artificially high prices and effectively control quantities released to the market, they would need to put pressure on governments or take other means to prevent competitively-priced products from other parts of their country or imports from other EU and/or third countries undermining them. This would have a damaging effect on the Single Market for food, which is already under pressure on a number of fronts. Equally, imports from third countries would also be attracted to markets with artificial prices. To stop this, the EU would have to impose additional restrictions. This would in turn mean the EU being hampered in negotiating new bilateral trade agreements covering any product subject to such potential cartel arrangements. The Commission is already in negotiation with Mercosur and is looking to advance negotiations with Australia and New Zealand, all of whom produce large quantities of “sensitive” products.

Christian Verschueren added: “We fear that this approach will artificially raise prices for consumers and reduce choice. It will also do nothing to help farmers become more competitive in global markets or strengthen their position in the supply chain. We therefore ask all parties to the trilogue discussions to avoid adopting measures that could distort the market in this way.”

 ~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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Filter by:

all

2017

2016

2015

2014

Filter by:

all

2017

2016

2015

2014

older

Consumer rights

Employment and social affairs

Environment

Food, nutrition and health

Internal market

International trade

Logistics

Non-Food

Payment systems

SMEs

Social dialogue

Supply chain

Taxation

Filter by:

all

Consumer rights

Employment and social affairs

Environment

Food, nutrition and health

Internal market

International trade

Logistics

Non-Food

Payment systems

SMEs

Social dialogue

Supply chain

Taxation