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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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Every Meal Matters - European food banks and business organisations join forces to promote food donation
29 Jun 2016 open-close-item
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FEBA (European Federation of Food Banks), FoodDrinkEurope and EuroCommerce launched this morning a new guide to encourage and make it easier for food manufacturers and retailers to donate their food surpluses to food banks.

With around 88 million tonnes of food wasted annually in the EU, preventing waste in the food chain is a key priority for food and drink manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers. 

The new guidelines give practical and straightforward answers to questions that businesses wanting to donate food have, such as ‘Which surplus food can we donate’?, ‘Can I donate food that has passed its ‘best before’ date?, ‘Who can I donate to?’ or ‘Which info on my food donations do I need to document’?

“We need to recover more nutritious food to support more vulnerable people and better. I hope than an increasing number of food businesses will adopt those guidelines and engage with our food banks to take proactive steps to support those experiencing poverty”, declared Patrick Alix, Secretary General of FEBA.

Mella Frewen, Director-General of FoodDrinkEurope, said: “Of course, we need to tackle the root causes of food waste first and foremost, all along the food chain. However, when food surpluses do occur, we all agree they should be redistributed as much as possible to food banks. With these very practical guidelines, we are simply turning our words into action and encouraging more food companies to best use their surpluses.“ 

“We are all committed to making sure that wholesome and nutritious food is not wasted. Not only do our members donate to food banks and other social organisations; many of them help food banks and charity organisations with logistics,” Christian Verschueren, Director-General ofEuroCommerce added. “These very useful guidelines show how best to donate food, and many examples of good practice. We hope that these will inspire others to follow the path many retailers and wholesalers have already adopted.”  

 The joint guidelines contribute to the ongoing EU and global policy discussions on food waste prevention and stimulating the circular economy.  They are also part of the initiating organisations’ strong commitment and ongoing efforts to supporting the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 to halve food waste by 2030.

 ~ END ~

1 FoodDrinkEurope is the organisation of Europe’s food and drink industry, the largest manufacturing sector and employer in the EU.

2 FEBA is the European Federation of Food Banks, with 265 food banks in 23 countries, serving 2.9Mil meals/day.

3 EuroCommerce is the principal European organisation representing the retail and wholesale sector, the largest private sector employer in the EU.

For further information, please contact:

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

 

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Shaping the Future of the Services Industry: the all-important role of the social partners
28 Jun 2016 open-close-item
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The origin of European social dialogue lays in the EU’s decision to address the social and
economic issues arising from the creation of a EU single integrated market through the
involvement and consultation of management and labour (Art. 154f). Social dialogue has been the cornerstone of the social dimension of the single market.

The services sectors, that we represent, are the backbone of Europe’s economy. They have
proven to be the guarantor for (future) growth and job creation as well as Europe’s
competitiveness in the world. Our social dialogues are key instruments for developing quality services and quality jobs. At the same time, technological advances, such as digitalisation, blur the boundaries of the services sector, thus making the work of our European sectoral social dialogues overlap.

We see our initiative to discuss common challenges among the European sectoral social partners from the services sectors as an important complement to our respective social dialogues as well as European social dialogue at cross-industry level. We welcome the positive attitude of the European Commission towards our initiative and look forward to continuing this path jointly.

The European social partners from the services sectors would welcome the following:

1) European Social dialogue supports and complements social dialogue at national level by
bringing together the experience and expertise of social partners, therefore adding value to the organisations and their members on both sides of industry. Social dialogue contributes to achieving the objectives of full employment, social progress and the fight against social exclusion laid down in Art. 3 TFEU. The economic crisis has created a less cohesive and more unequal European Union. Social Dialogue can be used to re-build trust in the EU project at large.

2) The European social dialogue is an autonomous dialogue between employers and trade
unions. Social partners are those that have the capacity to negotiate according to national
law and practice. This particularity allows the social partners to act as “de facto” colegislators if they so wish. The Commission has an obligation to facilitate and promote social dialogue.

3) European sectoral social dialogue is distinct from cross-sectoral social dialogue, as pointed out under point 4 of the Joint Declaration on a New Start for a Strong Social Dialogue as approved by the social partners on the thematic group meeting on 27/27 January 2016. The sectoral social partners are in a better position to deliver a concrete picture of each sector and can provide specific data that can be used in the design of policy proposals.

4) Changes, especially those driven by technology and digitalisation, follow similar patterns in different services sectors. Since, most of social partners have discussed ways to address such changes and formulated joint responses in the forms of guidelines, joint opinions, recommendations or action plans, there is a need to link up their work. For this, social dialogue committees should develop ways to cooperate and the Commission should
facilitate this process. Examples are the skills agenda, digitalisation, demographic change
and new forms of work. With the growing impact of digitalisation and new business models
like the “circular economy”, the EU has a role to ensure that a level playing field for all
market operations is maintained, whether in the area of supervision, competition, taxation
or others.

5) Sectoral social partners should be involved in the EU’s policymaking process from the very start, in particular through their social dialogue committees. The Commission should already consult social partners before the drafting of a policy proposal begins. The respective responsible Directorate General (DG) having the lead on a given initiative should involve DG EMPL and interested sectoral social partners from early on. Social partners welcome the idea to have a dedicated office in each DG responsible for social dialogue and social affairs as it is the case already for some sectors (Maritime transport and Fisheries for instance).

6) European Social Dialogue relies on a strong national membership. We are ready to engage together with the Commission in capacity building activities to develop, promote and strengthen sectoral social dialogue, in particular in Central and Eastern Europe, taking into due consideration the diversity of industrial relation systems. The Commission should make funding available to social partners and making funding opportunities for social dialogue support more transparent.

7) Outcomes of European Social Dialogue (agreements, process-oriented texts, joint opinions and tools) are only meaningful if they can be discussed, translated and used by respective national social partners and/or contributing to common European level approach. The Commission should support and facilitate this process, in particular by promoting and facilitating social dialogue in those countries where it is underdeveloped. Exchange among sectoral social partners on this and implementation of targeted projects aimed to raise awareness on European social dialogue could be mutually beneficial.

8) One of the most important expressions of European social dialogue are sectoral social
partner agreements. While we accept the Commission’s role as guardian of the Treaty
includes ensuring that social partner agreements are in line with the law, we stress that the
social partners are those who know best what is appropriate and beneficial for their industry in terms of social matters. The Commission has an obligation to respect the autonomy of social dialogue. Under the condition of a request by recognised European social partners, it should facilitate the conclusion and implementation of their agreements in line with Art. 155 TFEU.

9) Despite official statements from President Junker that social dialogue would be a political priority of this Commission, budgets for sectoral social dialogue are being reduced or reshifted. Administrative work to organise European social dialogue activities has been increasingly moved from the Commission to the social partners. Such work, whether running EU funded projects or organising social dialogue meetings constitutes in many cases excessive and unnecessary red tape. This is a clear and alarming political move from the Commission towards a reduction of resources away from social dialogue. The Commission should review its approach with a view to allow social partners to focus on their core role in social dialogue and, indeed, provide more resources for capacity-building.

10) The representativeness of the social partners derives from their mutual recognition; it is intrinsic to their nature and is at the core of their autonomy. Representativeness studies
conducted on behalf of the Commission are an important element in supporting the development of social dialogue and the autonomy of the social partners.

Oliver Röthig
Regional Secretary
UNI Europa

Denis Pennel
Managing Director
EuroCiett

Andreas Lill
Director General
European Federation of Cleaning Industries

Christian Verschueren
Director-General
EuroCommerce

Michaela Koller
Director General
Insurance Europe

Jef Vermeulen
President
Coiffure EU

Catherine Piana
Director General
COESS - Confederation of European Security
Services

Jens Thau
Chairman of the EBF-Banking Committee for
European Social Affairs
EBF - European Banking Federation

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Every Meal Matters - Food Donation Guidelines
28 Jun 2016 open-close-item

How to improve the distrubtion of surplus food to food banks?

Join us for the breakfast launch of EVERY MEAL MATTERS, the joint guidelines by EuroCommerce, FoodDrinkEurope and FEBA (European Federation of Food Banks) to help food manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers donate their food surpluses, contribute to reducing food wastage and work towards a true Circular Economy.

Programme

Food Donation Guidelines

#everymealmatters

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Statement on outcome of UK referendum
24 Jun 2016 open-close-item
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“This is a sad day, but also a wake-up call for Europe and for the future direction of the European Union. We must respect the will of the British people, but we will miss the liberal and forward-looking policy input of a country which has been a driving force in the single market, better regulation and open global trade. Britain is the nation of shopkeepers, and the dynamism of British retail has made it a leader in innovation in the high street and online,” said Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce today.

Britain’s legal situation remains the same for at least two years, but EuroCommerce calls upon Europe’s leaders to bring calm to what is a nervous environment today, and ensure that the negotiations on Britain’s leaving the EU will be an orderly and considered process with an important trading partner.

The situation we face from today underlines the message which EuroCommerce and its members have sent to Europe’s leaders ahead of the summit next week on Europe moving forward quickly to enhance Europe’s global competitiveness. This requires a determined effort to pursue the realisation of a properly-functioning single market, an open trading environment and EU and national regulation which encourages technological innovation, competitiveness and investment. This is the best and most direct way to create prosperity, jobs and growth  for Europe’s citizens. 

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Food and Feed Safety 2.0 Workshop
22 Jun 2016 open-close-item

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Food/Feed chemical safety management, Traceability, HACCP, Hygiene: how to deal with these issues in relation to chemicals in food and feed? Chemicals can be used in food and feed additives and supplements, as food colorings and flavorings. On the other hand, their presence as residues from veterinary medicines and pesticides, or as contaminants, needs to be closely monitored.

Fecc and EuroCommerce jointly organise the Product Stewardship Workshop “Food & Feed Safety 2.0” to analyse the problems that all actors along the Supply Chain face to maintain the safety and integrity of Food and Feed products in relation to chemicals. The event will be held in Brussels on 23 June 2016.

The  aim  of  the  seminar  is  to  give  the  participants  a  good understanding of present legislation and different quality systems applied by business. Experts in the field will provide a theoretical background and share their experiences. In addition, speakers will provide the audience with best business practices and share practical case studies viewed from every angle within the supply chain.

Join the conversation on Twitter via #FFSafety

Programme

Flickr

Presentations:

Arnaud Bouxin - Feed Safey Incident Management

Beate Kettlitz - The European Food Sector - Past and Future Trends

Els Bedert - Quality Schemes in Distribution

Hans-Dieter Philipowski - International Tank-Clearing Association

Ines Santos - Ensuring Feed Safety

Miguel Prieto Arranz - Product Stewardship of Chemicals used in Food

Monica Righi - IMCD Italia Spa

Stuart Challenor - Practical Delivery of Food Safety

Wim Debeucklaere - Existing Regulatory Framework Food Supply Chain

 

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EuroCommerce calls on Europe’s leaders to put Europe back on track
22 Jun 2016 open-close-item
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Ahead of the European Council next week, EuroCommerce and its members have written to European heads of state and government and the Presidents of the European Commission, European Parliament and European Council to push for a new approach to making Europe work for its citizens to restore confidence in Europe and create growth and jobs.

Speaking today, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said:

“Our sector plays a major role in creating jobs and growth, and is in the front line if consumers lose confidence. European decision-makers need to look carefully at the impact of measures responding to - perhaps completely unrelated - policy areas on the ability of all sectors, including retail and wholesale, to do business and create growth.”

In the attached paper, EuroCommerce sets out the main pillars for action:

  • The Single Market, both digital and offline, is Europe’s best hope of creating such growth, yet national self-interest and insufficient enforcement of EU rules, and discriminatory measures in some member states aimed at foreign companies are holding back the EU from exploiting its full potential;
  • Retailers and wholesalers rely on complex supply chains in Europe and across the world, and need uninterrupted delivery of goods to their premises. Disruption and delay costs money and threatens jobs. Europe needs to be open, both internally and to the outside world, for the free flow of goods and investment;
  • Overall, an EU which provides its citizens with what they need and expect in addressing the big issues such as prosperity, employment and security, addresses protectionism within and outside the EU, and holds back from unnecessary and intrusive bureaucracy, will regain the public trust that it has lost in many member states.

~ENDS~

For further information, please contact:

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

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LSA Conference 2016
21 Jun 2016 open-close-item

EuroCommerce is supporting this year's LSA Conference taking place in Paris, 5 October 2016.

The conference brings together the most influencial retailers and suppliers. 

The conference will have an exceptional panel of speakers including the Chairman of the Board of ITM Alimentaire International, the CEO of Delhaize Belgium, the President of LECLERC and the President and CEO of SYSTEME U.

To view programme click here.

Click here to register.

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EuroCommerce welcomes EU deal on food safety controls
17 Jun 2016 open-close-item
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EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren welcomed the positive outcome of what have been very lengthy negotiations between member states, Commission and European Parliament on official controls for food safety:

“The retail and wholesale sector has a vital interest in maintaining consumer confidence by making sure that the food it sells is safe. It does so with rigorous hygiene and quality management and its own controls. We recognise, however, the many challenges which still exist, such as emerging safety risks and food fraud, and we are constantly looking for the best ways to tackle these. The food fraud reference centre which is set up in this legislation is a useful further step to support operators with practical analytical methods and horizon scanning.”

The retail and wholesale sector has been concerned about how the official controls to verify legal compliance are organised and paid for. The Commission initially proposed transferring the full cost to the private sector. Although we have not seen the final compromise text we understand that it presents a more balanced approach with mandatory fees for certain controls only, leaving it up to the member states to decide on additional financing systems for other regular controls if necessary.  This is an approach which the sector can support.

EuroCommerce was satisfied with the compromise reached on the publication of the results of controls carried out in retail and wholesale facilities. “We support openness and transparency, but information published on control results should be proportionate to the risk of public health, and focus particularly in where there is a real, rather than theoretical risk,” Verschueren added.

 EuroCommerce was, however, disappointed to see that a very useful Parliament amendment pointing to closer coordination between the private and public sector when developing annual control plans has not survived the negotiations. This weakens the creation of the risk-based approach a properly-functioning food control system needs.

 ~ENDS~

For further information, please contact:

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


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Unfair Trading Practices legislation will not fix the agriculture crisis
14 Jun 2016 open-close-item
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Over the last week, various assertions have been made about the relationship between the farming crisis and commercial dealings in the supply chain. These create connections which are simply not supported by facts:

- Experts and widely published data show that the current milk and livestock crisis is structural and comes from farmers increasing production (in some member states more than 20% more compared with 2015) at a time of collapsing prices and low demand;

- Retailers have only limited influence in markets where they have very few direct relationships with farmers. In the case of liquid milk or fresh meat, only a small proportion of production (less than 20%) ends up in retail, with the rest going into manufacturing and catering;

- UTPs are being addressed through national legislation and the Supply Chain Initiative, which was agreed with farmers, who subsequently declined to sign up to it; today over 1200 companies including a critical mass of retailers have joined the initiative.

In order to meet ever-changing consumer demand, retailers need and support a farming sector which is:

- better organised: the countries least affected by the crisis are also countries where farming is better organised – e.g. through cooperatives or producer organisations;

- more responsive to consumer demand: today in certain countries affected by the crisis, demand for organic milk or pigmeat is not being met by farmers domestically and the organic products have to be imported;

- more responsive to market signals: by maintaining high production levels, producers are only serving to drive the market price down further; this has to stop. Retailers are keen to share market information with farmers to help them plan, and to encourage them to add value on the farm to meet increased demand for locally-sourced or artisanal products.

In these circumstances, we ask policy makers:

- to maintain a market-oriented CAP that respects the single market and open competition, and supports producers in adjusting to market signals;

- to reduce the unnecessary administrative and financial burdens which add to farmers’ production costs;

- to encourage a structured supply chain dialogue among sectors, including manufacturing, e.g. through interbranch organisations, to better anticipate consumer needs;

- not to forget that markets are about the needs of consumers, many of whom are still struggling to make ends meet since the economic crisis.

Retailers are an easy target, but the wrong one in seeking a scapegoat for a crisis which is internal to the agricultural market; reducing the level of competition or adding further regulatory burdens at any stage of the supply chain will only come to the expense of consumers through higher prices, less choice and less innovation.

~ENDS~

For further information, please contact:

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

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EuroCommerce welcomes EU new skills agenda
10 Jun 2016 open-close-item
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Speaking today on the launch of the European Commission New Skills Agenda for Europe[1], EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren welcomed the initiative’s focus on the digital technology and on global competition, and the need for Europe’s workforce to be provided with the skills to allow companies and employees to respond to the challenges these produce.

Christian Verschueren, EuroCommerce Director-General  said: “New technology and the global market are changing the way we live and do business.  Our sector needs the right people with the right skills.  Technology and demographic change are underlining the need for a labour market which allows flexibility and provides the skills for a new era in which lower skilled jobs are already disappearing. This is particularly important in addressing the alarming level of unemployment among people aged 18-25.”

EuroCommerce is also very much in favour of renewed emphasis on entrepreneurial education and cooperation. Retailers are already working with schools and colleges to equip the next generation with the right skills. EuroCommerce is a strong supporter of the Young Entrepreneurs programme JA Europe preparing young people to start a business or get a job. EuroCommerce also promotes a better image of vocational education and training. Retailers and wholesalers need qualified staff, including young apprentices.

“Retailers and wholesalers are actively investing in their employees and have a strong track record of equipping them to move up to take on management roles.In Germany, for example, the retail sector has at any time some 26,000 traineeslearning the skills to manage complex retail operations. With the sector employing 1 out of 5 young Europeansin work, this is a major contribution to the skills agenda in Europe,” Christian Verschueren added.

EuroCommerce works closely with UNI Europa as a social partner in promoting apprenticeship and skills. Last year, both social partners pledged  to raise awareness and create fair access to quality apprenticeships in retail and wholesale, as a powerful tool in increasing young people’s employability. EuroCommerce has also pressed for more support for SMEs to acquire the right skills to allow them to exploit the full potential of digital.

Central to achieving better skills is focussing education on the needs of the future. It needs national and EU-level funding, with policies to help stakeholders to play their part. These could include tax incentives for employee training and learning accounts for individual training.  There is also a real need for publicly financed training, in particular for the 65 million adults with limited qualifications, as well as for easier and better funding of social partner projects aimed at addressing the skills mismatch.

~ENDS~

Background

Europe's economic and social success is to a large extent based on the skills of its population. Skills provide the basis for active citizenship, for innovation and competitiveness and are developed throughout life at all levels, in education, by learning at work, and through life experiences. High productivity and sustained competitiveness and growth depend upon a skilled and adaptable workforce and on making full use of the skills available.

By 2025, 46.3% of all job openings (including both new and replacement jobs) in the EU will require high qualifications, 40.8% will be for medium qualified and only 12.8% will be of an elementary nature. Most jobs already require basic digital skills and digitisation is increasing the need for higher level user skills and ICT professional skills in all sectors of the economy, and increasingly interdisciplinary profiles are sought.

The “new Skills Agenda for Europe” initiative responds to the European Commission's first political priority, "A New Boost for Jobs, Growth and Investment".

The main objective of the initiative is to promote skills development.

The level, relevance and use of skills are a major challenge in Europe. It can be broken down into three main problems:

  1. Lack of skills
  2. Inefficient use of available skills
  3. Difficulty to anticipate skills

The specific objectives are:

  1. Equipping more people with higher and more relevant skills (addressing issue n. 1)
  2. Improving transparency and use of available skills, including of EU mobile workers and learners and those having non-EU qualifications (addressing issue n. 2)
  3. Improving understanding of skills needs and trends in the labour market (addressing issue n. 3)

By reaching these objectives the initiative will contribute to help people develop the skills they need to access and progress in quality work and actively take part in society, as well as to boost employability, competitiveness and support fair and balanced growth, reaping the full potential of digital and technological advancements.

For further information, please contact:

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


[1] http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-2039_en.htm

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Filter by:

all

2016

2015

2014

2013

Filter by:

all

2016

2015

2014

2013

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