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.
- Press releases
- Position papers
- Issue briefings
- Publications & reports
- Knowledge hub − Brexit
- Knowledge hub −Economics
- Supplier Engagement
A new start for Europe, and need for new push for sustainable market solutions27 Nov 2019
Retailers and wholesalers in Europe expressed their support for the new Commission under Ursula von der Leyen. Speaking today after the convincing European Parliament vote in favour of the new team, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said:
“We are pleased to be able to mark the start of a new Commission with a clear set of priorities and bold ambitions. We fully support coherent action to address climate change and sustainability under the Green Deal, but will be stressing the need for this to be pursued in ways which engage all parts of the supply chain, including consumers, in a positive way. We look forward to working with the Commission on making Europe fit for the digital age. Digitalisation is already transforming our sector, and we have to ensure that SMEs and consumers can also benefit directly. Above all, we will be stressing the need for open markets and addressing the rising tide of protectionism both in and outside the EU. We need to remember that the Single Market is the keystone of European integration and our future prosperity.”
Earlier this year EuroCommerce issued its Manifesto for the new European Parliament and Commission, and is pleased to see that many of the priorities set out so far by Mrs von der Leyen for the Commission over the next 5 years coincide with our four priorities – on building a successful data economy in Europe, securing fair competition and freedom to do business, safeguarding open markets in and outside the EU, and supporting a sector committed to people and sustainable living.
“We face an increasingly unstable and challenging global economic environment, and slowing growth in Europe. A properly-functioning single market and continued commitment in Europe to competition and freedom to trade, will remain the best approach to making Europe a globally competitive force and giving our economy a much needed boost – while ensuring a sustainable future for citizens of Europe and the world.”
Retail taxes come with a price20 Nov 2019
Member States keep on proposing retail-specific taxes based on turnover. This may put retailers out of business, decrease choice and in the end increase consumer prices.
After Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, Lithuania has now proposed a new retail tax. The proposal consists of a flat rate of 1% on consumer sales, with a turnover threshold of EUR 2 million a month.
Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce, said:
“Retail businesses are closest to consumers, and especially in food, they operate with very low average margins of 1 to 3%. At the same time retailers are major local employers, and support local communities and businesses. They source locally on average 70% of products they sell. Turnover-based taxes will either lead to retailers having to absorb the cost, renegotiate conditions with suppliers or increase consumer prices. It is really unclear what Member States want to achieve with these taxes.”
In addition, the European Commission has concluded that most of the taxes introduced have constituted unlawful state aid and the Court of Justice of the European Union concluded in case C-385/12 that the Hungarian 2010 retail tax was indirectly discriminatory.
Rūta Vainienė, Executive Director of Lithuanian Association of Trade Companies, said:
“It is unclear how the proposed retail tax in Lithuania will improve consumer choice and help retailers keep prices low for Lithuanian consumers. It is unclear why the lawmakers have singled out the retail sector, which has low profit margins. We call upon the European Commission and our Government to be vigilant and protect the interest of Lithuanian consumers, and ensure that Lithuanian retail businesses remain competitive.”
Often Member States that propose retail-specific taxes have also introduced other types of restrictive laws on retail, e.g. regulation of B2B relationships to the benefit of (large international) suppliers, providing advantages for local products vis-à-vis products from other Member States, making larger retailers subject to competition law restrictions, regardless of their real market power, and restricting establishment / reconstruction / expansion of stores.
This is undermining the Single Market and it is creating a hostile environment for new competitors which will lead to less competition. Higher consumer prices and less choice will be the end result.
- ENDS -
European Supply Chain Initiative winds down activities – Principles of Good Practice remain in place18 Nov 2019
After six years of operation, the work of the European Supply Chain Initiative (SCI), a joint initiative launched by several EU level associations with the aim of promoting fairness in commercial relations along the food supply chain, will wind down at the end of 2019. The European SCI mechanisms and tools developed over the years remain available to all stakeholders. The SCI’s Principles of Good Practice, which have been widely endorsed along the food supply chain, will continue to be promoted as an important standard. National dialogue platforms and registered companies remain free to continue to apply and promote the Principles on a voluntary basis.
18 November 2019, Brussels - The European Supply Chain Initiative (SCI), which was officially launched in 2013 to promote fair business practices in the food supply chain as a basis for commercial dealings, winds down its activities at the end of 2019. The Principles of Good Practice, which were widely endorsed along the food supply chain and the European Commission, remain an important standard for all sectors. National dialogue platforms and registered companies remain free to continue to apply and promote the Principles of good practice on a voluntary basis.
“The Principles of Good Practice were not only the foundation of the SCI, but are and should be at the heart of all commercials dealings. The Principles were signed-up to by over 1,200 companies in Europe who registered with the SCI, they have been integrated in contractual agreements and have even served as a source of inspiration in both the Unfair Trading Practices Directive and some national legislations. They therefore remain important and the organisations who were involved in the SCI will continue to promote them in the future” says Michael Hutchings, Chair of the SCI.
Over its years of operation, the SCI has promoted sector dialogue and mediation as a means to solve disputes among trading partners. These efforts are now reflected in the recently adopted Unfair Trading Practices Directive which encourages mediation to resolve disputes. “Many excellent national mechanisms are now in place that offer companies support to resolve conflicts by means of dialogue. I am proud to see that the European SCI contributed to the establishment of several platforms and initiatives across Europe that are highly effective and offer companies many options to resolve disputes in a fair and transparent manner” says Mr Hutchings.
With a view to the future, interaction between sector organisations and the exchange of good practices between national platforms remain important. Relevant workshops and events may continue to be organised by the organisations who were involved with the SCI to promote this dialogue moving forward.
The SCI leaves a legacy of initiatives, mechanisms and tools which have made a positive impact in the sector and which will continue to be useful for all stakeholders in the future, via the SCI website (https://www.supplychaininitiative.eu).
For more information contact:
E-mail : email@example.com
Tel : +32 474 07 87 09
Note to the Editors:
The Supply Chain Initiative was launched in September 2013 by a group of EU-level associations representing today the food and drink industry (FoodDrinkEurope, AIM-the European Brands Association), the retail sector (EuroCommerce, Euro Coop, the European Retail Round Table-ERRT, and Independent Retail Europe), and agricultural traders (CELCAA).
The Principles of Good Practice were adopted in November 2011 by 11 organisations: AIM, CEJA, CELCAA, CLITRAVI, Copa Cogeca, ERRT, EuroCommerce, Euro Coop, FoodDrinkEurope, SMEunited (formerly UEAPME) and Independent Retail Europe (formerly UGAL). The Principles, which are available in 23 languages on the SCI website, provide a framework for conducting business that respects contractual freedom and ensures competitiveness.
European Business urges the European Commission to conclude the revised pan-Euro-Mediterranean Convention by the end of 201918 Nov 2019
The undersigning European Business Associations, representing a range of sectors, wish to reiterate their support for negotiations on the revised pan-Euro-Mediterranean Convention (PEM Convention) and to see it adopted by the PEM Joint Committee at its next meeting on 27 November 2019.
The aim of the PEM Convention has been to establish a single legal instrument, bringing together all the rules covering preferential origin of goods traded in approximately 60 bilateral free trade agreements between the countries of the pan-Euro-Mediterranean area.
In this final phase of negotiations, we call on all involved to work for an ambitious, future-proof and more flexible set of rules of origin covering all parties to the convention.
The revised PEM Convention will benefit all countries involved by enabling European businesses to react more rapidly to changing economic realities and to strengthen their supply chains in the region.
EuroCommerce and the European Retail Round Table to join forces07 Nov 2019
EuroCommerce and the European Retail Round Table (ERRT) have agreed to join forces, creating a stronger and more united retail organisation to safeguard and promote the sector’s interests on the European stage.
The combination brings together two strong European retail organisations, representing national associations and leading retail companies in 31 countries. The new organisation, which will keep the EuroCommerce name, will strengthen and streamline representation of the retail industry in times of fundamental changes and regulatory challenges for the sector.
EuroCommerce President Régis Degelcke said: “With this move, the retail sector will have a more prominent and united voice on the European stage. It will help us to highlight the valuable contribution our sector makes to society, and to represent its interests on strategic issues around fair competition, digitalisation, and sustainability.”
ERRT President Frans Muller added: “As the biggest employer in Europe, the retail industry is fundamentally important to the EU economy and its 500 million citizens who rely on us for the essentials of daily life. This combination will put us in an even stronger position as we navigate the changing retail landscape.”
The two organisations’ activities will be brought together in EuroCommerce. This integration will take place during a transition period and is expected to be completed within the next months.
Help SMEs digitalise, and help the European economy grow16 Oct 2019
Speaking at a joint Metro and EuroCommerce conference, Digitalisation of SMEs: How to make it possible, in Brussels today EuroCommerce, speaking on behalf of its Vice-President Patricia Hoogstraaten, called for a proactive European SME policy reflecting the major challenges arising from digitalisation and changes in consumer behaviour and their impact on small retailers and wholesalers, and said:
“Small retailers and wholesalers are often leaders in innovation and in adapting to fast-changing customer demand. But they struggle with gaining access to expertise and resources needed to take full advantage of the new technology. We very much support the call of the Network of the SME Envoys for a forward-looking EU SME policy and are pleased that Ursula von der Leyen announced a dedicated SME strategy as a priority for her Presidency of the European Commission. SMEs are vital to the EU economy as a whole, but vulnerable; they need regulatory action and financial support, tailored to their ways of operating, and targeted at enabling them to benefit fully from a vibrant European Digital Single Market.”
EU action to support SMEs will have a direct positive impact on the wider economy. SMEs in retail and wholesale account for 5.4 million businesses, or 1 in 4 of all businesses in the EU. 99 % of retail and wholesale businesses are SMEs and 90% micro-businesses, employing less than 10 people. The retail and wholesale sector currently employs 29 million Europeans, almost two-thirds of which work in SMEs. Shops and wholesalers provide important employment for local people, and act as an anchor for communities, keeping both villages and town centres good places to live, visit and do business.
Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce added:
“Small and medium-sized retailers and wholesalers are particularly affected by the many remaining barriers to a properly functioning Single Market. These barriers, in both digital and non-digital markets, are holding Europe back from using the Single Market as a springboard to compete with operators in Asia and the US. Our sector - and Europe as a whole - needs a strong commitment to the Single Market for services and goods, and regulation which promotes, rather than hinders growth. This in turn needs a recognition at the highest level of the key role SMEs play in the EU economy.”
Neil McMillan - +32 2 737 05 99 - firstname.lastname@example.org
“We need to work with the unions for the future of retail and wholesale”15 Oct 2019
Speaking today at the annual UNI Europa Commerce sector Conference in Bucharest, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren underlined the importance of social partners working together to ensure that the 29 million Europeans working in retail and wholesale are equipped to have sustainable and rewarding jobs in this rapidly-changing commercial environment.
UNI Europa and EuroCommerce are the only European Social Partners for the retail and wholesale sector, and EuroCommerce is pleased with the positive collaboration with UNI Europa since the creation of the European Social Dialogue Committee for Commerce in 1998. Verschueren commented on the positive and fruitful relationship with UNI Europa, dating back as far as 1983, and the work done together over the years on a range of issues of importance to employers and employees in our sector.
Verschueren highlighted the seismic changes happening in retail and wholesale and specifically called on the unions to help prepare the employees for the future:
“The sector faces major challenges, ranging from digitalisation of the economy to rapidly changing consumer demands and lifestyles, along with global sustainability and health imperatives. Ours is a sector directly dependent on consumers. I am confident that it can and will adapt rapidly to meet their needs and aspirations. And indeed companies will only survive if they do. As social partners, both of us agree that tailored working conditions, continuous learning, innovative in-company training are vital for upskilling employees so that they can handle new technologies and ways of working. We have been working together to press for EU support under ESF+ to expand our existing efforts to meet these challenges. But most solutions need to happen at national and local level. These are all areas we need employers and unions working together on, but with the future in mind”.
Retail and wholesale is the largest private sector employer in each of the EU’s 28 Member States, and thus in the EU as a whole. We are proud of our record of investing in training, and seeing people starting on the shop floor gaining the skills to move into management. But retail of the future will be marked by adoption of data-driven technologies such as AI and blockchain. The sector will need people able to interact with new technologies, and to adapt along with rapid and constant changes in consumer expectations. We are moving with this evolution. For example, our German members and their social partners have evolved their dual learning education (the most successful dual learning programme in Germany), and developed a completely new digital job profile: the ‘e-commerce merchant’. This unprecedented example of innovative vocational education and training in our sector is preparing young people for the jobs of the future in retail. Technology is very important in this mix, but equally essential to the future of bricks-and-mortar retail will be making the most of the peoples’ expertise and social skills to offer top-quality customers advice and service.
Verschueren concluded: “Our sector can no longer be defined by bricks and mortar or pure online players – these distinctions are irrelevant where consumers can already choose any blend of the two. What will determine the future of physical stores will be investment in innovative new services - and in the soft skills and expertise of people working there - to make going to the shops an even more useful and enjoyable experience.”
Neil McMillan - +32 2 737 05 99 - email@example.com
EuroCommerce calls for rapid global agreement on OECD digital tax proposals10 Oct 2019
Commenting on the presentation yesterday of the OECD Secretariat’s proposals on tax challenges from digitalisation of the economy, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren commented:
“We have been consistently supportive of the OECD’s efforts to reform and adjust the global taxation system to the challenges of the 21st century. The fiscal environment has significantly changed and today’s proposal is a major step towards a fairer and more modern tax system. This proposal is a valuable contribution to the discussions in the G20, and we ask governments to decide and act on them swiftly.”
EuroCommerce has always been a proponent of a global solution to deal with the changing commercial landscape and address an outdated regime and principles for corporate taxation.
“The technological revolution and the digitalisation of the economy is a global phenomenon. It has resulted in major shifts in turnover and profits across geographies, without taxes being properly accounted for where consumption takes place. Hence, only a global consensus on a solution can adequately address the situation. The OECD is the right place to provide this solution and we commend it for having accelerated its work and delivering its proposals. A global solution at OECD and G20 level will prevent proliferation of different national tax regimes on digital services”.
To support the OECD work, EuroCommerce adopted last year a set of key principles for taxing the digitalised economy. A core principle of the EuroCommerce position is that the taxation has to be channel-neutral: underlining that digitalisation offers opportunities to the entire economy, in particular to retail and wholesale, but that the tax burden needs to be shared a fair way among all market participants, no matter the business model or the size of the company.
 The key principles on taxation of the digitalised economy agreed by EuroCommerce members were :
1) The system needs to be fair; 2) taxation should continue to be based on profits rather than on turnover; 3) taxation needs to be channel-neutral; 4) rules need to be simply applicable by companies, and ensure that the administrative burden is in proportion to the generated revenue; 5) the new rules need to be enforceable on companies which are based outside the EU; 6) there needs to be a global solution at OECD and G20 level.
Joint industry letter for reconsidering ePrivacy proposal08 Oct 2019
EuroCommerce and dozens of other industry organisations urge Member States to ask the European Commission to reconsider its proposal for an ePrivacy Regulation. We fully support the worthy objectives of the proposal, but only a fresh new attempt will serve the Regulation’s purpose in line with the principles of better regulation. We stand ready to support the Commission and the co-legislators in these efforts.
Click here for the letter.
Implementing Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) across Europe25 Sep 2019
- 26 EEA NCAs are in favor of transition, including all large markets such as UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Poland.
- 21 NCAs have confirmed in writing or through spokespersons their views in favor of a transition: UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Portugal, Greece, Malta, Norway, Finland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Slovenia, Lituania, Hungary (limited to 12-months) and Cyprus (for card data & SMS OTP only).
- 2 NCAs have not yet expressed a position: Latvia and Bulgaria. In Iceland and Liechtenstein the RTS SCA requirements do not yet apply.
- No NCA has expressed a view against a transition, except Sweden that will not provide a general transition. Transition for e-commerce card transactions will be granted on a case-by-case basis subject to individual notification.
- There is a growing consensus on 18-month duration. Hungary confirmed 12 months.
- 2 NCAs provide transition for contactless (Poland and Croatia). UK will not provide a general transition for contactless (only case-by-case for individual issuers and limited in time).