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Competition central to future prosperity of Europe and consumers’ welfare

Speaking today on the presentation of the Commission Communication on a Competition Policy Fit for New Challenges, EuroCommerce Director-General Christel Delberghe said:

“EuroCommerce welcomes the Commission’s recognition that competition in the single market is central to Europe’s recovery and ensuring the global competitiveness of European businesses, driving choice and innovation and ensuring better prices. Our sector needs a competition framework which fully reflects the challenges and significant investment needed in meeting the demands of the digital and sustainability transition while operating at very low margins. It needs regulation that, along with recovery funds, can support its future resilience and attract investment.”

Retail and wholesale operates in a highly competitive environment. European competitiveness both globally and at home can only be achieved by ensuring proper competition and a single market that works for all actors and consumers.

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Retail and wholesale - cooperating to halt deforestation

Commenting today on the European Commission proposal for measures to reduce the impact on the world’s forests of products sold in the EU, EuroCommerce Director General Christel Delberghe underlined the many individual and joint initiatives retailers and wholesalers have undertaken to help reduce these impacts.

“In the week after the agreement at COP 26 and as Europe imports and consumes close to a third of the globally traded agricultural commodities, it seems relevant that the Commission comes forward with a proposal to help business in avoiding contributing to further deforestation and climate change. Only with cooperation between private actors of the supply chain, local action by government in producing countries and harmonised enforcement of current and future regulations will we succeed in making a concrete and real impact on deforestation.” 

The retail and wholesale sector is committed to play its part in helping fight deforestation and many leading operators have made concrete commitments.  However, being part of a very complex supply chain, help and support is necessary to identify where the risks of deforestation are.  We are pleased to see the Commission proposal and previous reports recognise the role of private schemes in contributing to the due diligence process and tackling illegal logging and deforestation. Similarly, the proposal for benchmarking third-country regions will help all in the supply chain in identifying areas of risk, and will be a major help in setting priorities in the due diligence mechanism and establishing the right policies and tools to target deforestation.

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Christel Delberghe to be new EuroCommerce Director-General

Juan Manuel Morales, President of EuroCommerce and Managing Director of IFA, a leading retail group in Spain, Portugal and Italy, today announced the appointment of Christel Delberghe as the new Director-General of EuroCommerce.  Christel will take over from Christian Verschueren from 15 November.  Mr Morales said:

“Christel’s appointment is the culmination of a thorough and competitive recruitment process in which Christel came out as the very strongest candidate.  This was endorsed unanimously by the EuroCommerce Board.  Both they and I have been impressed by Christel’s knowledge of and passion for the retail and wholesale sector, which she has served in various roles over the last 20 years in EuroCommerce. She has shown energy and commitment in pursuing a wide range of projects covering some of the most important issues confronting our sector.  As the first woman to head EuroCommerce, Christel will be a very worthy successor to Christian, to whom I pay tribute now for his dedication to our sector, his leadership over the last 10 years, and the solid foundation he is leaving behind.”

Christel Delberghe added:

“I am proud and grateful for the confidence that EuroCommerce’s members have shown in appointing me as their Director-General. Retail and wholesale is very diverse and faces immense challenges over the coming years. Digital and sustainability are transforming our sector. I look forward to working with our members and EU decision-makers to achieve a regulatory and policy framework that supports the transformation and the significant investment needed to remain competitive and serve customers every day.”

 

 

 

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Retailers ask for a safe, trustworthy digital environment for consumers

EuroCommerce has adopted a forward-looking and pragmatic position on the Digital Services Act (DSA), calling upon the EU institutions to ensure that the DSA creates a safe and trustworthy digital environment for consumers. At the same time, the DSA needs to strike the right balance:  ensuring products online are compliant and safe, while not unnecessarily overburdening businesses. EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said:
 
“The European retail and wholesale sector is in the middle of a digital transformation which is fundamentally changing retail and wholesale business models, a trend significantly accelerated by the COVID19 pandemic. An increasing number are, or plan to become, platforms themselves, increasing competition between the different online business models. While policy makers are still talking about online and offline sales, the most successful businesses are seamlessly integrating the online and offline environment into omnichannel, matching consumers expectations and preferences.”
 
One of the main challenges our sector is facing is the lack of a level playing field with third country traders. They often offer non-compliant products to EU consumers, offered for very low prices, making it difficult for European retailers and wholesalers to compete with them.

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EuroCommerce elects Juan Manuel Morales as its new President

EuroCommerce is pleased to announce the election at its General Assembly today of Juan Manuel Morales as its new President. Mr. Morales will take up his three-year mandate from 1 July 2021.

Mr. Morales commented upon his election:

“I will want to focus on guiding an important organisation representing the Europe’s largest private sector employer, a driver of growth for a wide range of other ecosystems, and a linchpin of local communities. We are under massive competitive and regulatory pressure in a low margin sector, which is often overlooked by policymakers. This is something we must, and will work to change. I am proud therefore, and deeply honoured, to have been elected to continue and take forward the valuable work undertaken by EuroCommerce members and staff, and, above all, by my excellent predecessor Régis Degelcke, to whom I extend my heartfelt thanks”.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for everyone in retail and wholesale, particularly in non-food. The very existence of thousands of SMEs, who represent 99% of our sector, is at risk. In addition, retail and wholesale face the dual challenge of the digital and green transformation, both of which require significant investment.” 

In handing over the baton as President, Régis Degelcke added:

“I believe EuroCommerce has built up further its reputation as a strong organisation representing an essential ecosystem for the European economy and a provider of a vital service every day to the people who really matter – Europe’s 450 million consumers. It has worked hard to underline how our sector has faced the challenges of the last 18 months, and to get across important messages about its needs, both financial and policy. All of us are looking forward to working under Juan Manuel’s leadership, whose ambition for, and commitment to the industry will help EuroCommerce reach even greater heights.”

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