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Brussels, 26 March 2020 – Copa-Cogeca, FoodDrinkEurope and EuroCommerce represent the core actors in the European food supply chain: farmers and agri-cooperatives, food and drink manufacturers, and wholesale and retail distribution.
In these challenging times, our farmers and businesses strive day and night to get food and drink to all Europeans every day. We are working together, also with many other businesses in the agri-food supply chain, and with the European institutions to ensure our collective response is coordinated and effective, both in the short and long-term.
We pay tribute to all of those across society who are working tirelessly to deal with the Covid-19 public health crisis. In the food supply chain, committed people on our farms, in our factories, on the roads, and in our shops and supermarkets are giving all their energy, time, and dedication to fulfil this important mission: feeding people.
We will do all in our power to ensure our food systems continue to function sustainably and effectively throughout the health crisis and the confinement measures taken.
We emphasise that our industries and workforce must be recognised as essential to maintain our activities and ensure safe, affordable and quality food for our consumers. We ask that the borders remain open for people and for freight to fulfill this essential mission.
We offer to work with the European institutions through a structured dialogue to ensure that the response to Covid-19 is coordinated and effective, both during the crisis and in its aftermath.Read more
EuroCommerce is pleased that the Commission has sought to propose a number of ideas on how Europe can gradually return to normal once the immediate danger of the COVID-19 pandemic has eased. We recognise that the rate of infection differs from country to country and that decisions on the health of their citizens rests with national governments.
We support the Commission, however, in a number of important issues they raise in their welcome Communication issued today. These include:Read more
Speaking today, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren called upon leaders across the world to drive the economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic by freeing up global trade:
“Before the virus became a global crisis, we saw a worrying spread of an equally pernicious development – the mistaken belief that economic growth can come from imposing tariffs and blocking imports. If we are to see the world economy start growing again after a downturn maybe as bad as in the 1930s, world leaders should get together now to agree on how to do so. Above all, they need to avoid the same mistakes made then of closing down international trade. Supply chains are complex and global, and these need to stay open if all of our economies are to recover quickly.”
EuroCommerce has issued a joint letter (co-signed by Independent Retail Europe) which was sent to Commissioner Sefcovics on dealing with regulatory burdens in the retail and wholesale sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dear EU leaders,
In order to overcome the extraordinary challenges the COVID-19 pandemic brings, the European Union must show that it is more than the sum of its members. Pushed by the urgency at hand, Member States have rightfully taken the lead in recent weeks, but this unfortunately leads us to a scattered landscape of measures. Recovering from the crisis, only European solutions can work, putting the Single Market as the central instrument. More than ever we need a strong Europe, where its governments, businesses and citizens show their solidarity.
Examples of solidarity can be seen everywhere across our continent: from volunteers who sew masks at home for the bakery staff around the corner, to companies donating disinfectants and governments that organise joint procurement of medical devices. But the temptation to look inwards is strong. Here, European governments must be at the forefront, showing solidarity among each other, ensuring all Member States have market access to funds needed for their recovery, and also making sure their citizens understand the added value that our common European project brings in these unprecedented and difficult times.