BETA


2011/2904(RSP) Resolution on the imbalances in the food supply chain

Progress: Procedure completed

Legal Basis:
RoP 128-p5

Events

2012/05/08
   EC - Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2012/01/19
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2012/01/19
   EP - Debate in Parliament
2012/01/19
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the imbalances in the food supply chain, in response to the Commission communication on a better functioning of the food supply chain.

The resolution was tabled by the EPP, ALDE, Greens/EFA, S&D, and GUE/NGL groups.

It points out that the food supply chain, agriculture, the agri-food industry and food distribution account for 7% of total employment in the EU and are worth EUR 1400 billion per year - a figure greater than that for any other manufacturing sector in the EU - and that the share of agricultural value added from the food supply chain dropped from 31% in 1995 to 24% in 2005 in the EU-25.

Parliament emphasises that the problem of imbalances in the food distribution chain has a clear European dimension, which calls for a specific European solution. Whilst tackling the imbalances in the food distribution chain includes self-regulation, it also requires regulation and adjustments to competition law . The resolution calls on the Commission to propose robust EU legislation - where necessary and without distorting the proper functioning of the markets - to guarantee fair and transparent relationships between producers, suppliers and distributors of food products, and to implement properly the rules already in force. Members note in this regard the latest agricultural income figures from Eurostat show that, since 2009, there has been an 11.6% drop in farm incomes at EU level, whilst total input costs for EU farmers increased on average by almost 40% between 2000 and 2010. Parliament urges the Commission and Member States to continue to address the problem of unfair distribution of profits within the food chain, especially with regard to adequate incomes for farmers, stressing that power struggles must give way to cooperative relationships.

Unfair practices: Parliament calls on national and European competition authorities and other regulatory authorities to take action against abusive buyer practices on the part of dominant wholesalers and retailers that systematically put farmers in an extremely unequal bargaining position. It calls for a clear, rigorous and objective definition of abusive and unfair practices , so that such practices are subject to specific regulation, supervision and objective sanctions. Members highlight a non-exhaustive list of practices about which producers have raised concerns in relation to the functioning of the food supply chain. These include the following:

- on access to retailers: (i) advance payment for accessing negotiation; (ii) listing fees; (iii) entry fees; (iv) pricing; (v) payment delays; (v) most favoured client clause;

- on unfair contractual conditions or unilateral changes to contract terms: (i) unilateral and retrospective changes to contractual conditions; (ii) unilateral breach of contract; (iii) exclusivity clauses/fees; (iv) imposition of a ‘forced’ contribution for private brands; (v) retaliatory practices; (vi) margin recovery; (vii) overriding discounts; (viii) imposition of payment for waste processing; (ix) inverted auctions; (x) unrealistic delivery terms; (xi) payment to cover (non-previously agreed) promotions; (xii) imposing unconditional return of (unsold) merchandise; (xiii) imposition on suppliers of costs related to product shrinkage or theft.

Parliament calls for the establishment of a framework to effectively control these practices, by launching a full-sector inquiry , through administrative or judicial means, and then by introducing a system of evaluation and monitoring operated by Member States and coordinated by the Commission, with dissuasive sanctions applied effectively and in good time.

On payment, Members ask for the introduction of better means to ensure that payment deadlines are complied with, taking into account the provisions of the Late Payments Directive, and for new instruments to be put in place to minimise the length of time between delivery and the moment at which payment is actually received by suppliers. Solutions are urgently required to deal with the specific problems encountered by producers of perishable goods with short shelf-lives, who face major cash flow difficulties.

Parliament also asks the Commission to:

· improve the European Price Monitoring Tool and develop a user-friendly, transparent and multilingual interface which allows consumers and stakeholders to compare prices of basic foodstuffs within a certain Member State and between different Member States at each stage in the food supply chain and which also takes into account differences in costs of living in the Member States;

· clarify the application of competition rules in agriculture , with the aim of providing farmers and their inter-branch organisations with tools that will make it possible to improve their negotiating position;

· make an assessment of and changes to existing EU competition law , with a view to ensuring that greater account is taken of the harmful effects of vertical concentration on the entire food supply chain, instead of there being a narrow focus on the relative positions of various companies on the market and distortions of competition being viewed solely on the basis of their detrimental effect to consumers;

· better coordinate the work of its various services , so as to be able to play a more effective role in price monitoring throughout the food chain and in monitoring retail dynamics and relative market shares throughout the EU. Members calls for the creation of an independent Food Trading Ombudsman to liaise with the relevant trade and competition authorities and with national food trading Ombudsmen in each Member State, in order to share information. The European Ombudsman and the various national Ombudsmen should be responsible for ensuring compliance with the relevant legislation and recommending timely and appropriate sanctions;

· conduct an in-depth study into the differences in approach between the 27 national competition authorities and policies and to encourage solutions which involve all partners in the food production chain and prevent abuses of dominant positions in one or a restricted number of parts of the input or output chain, which often occur at the expense of the agricultural producer.

Lastly, Parliament insists that the Member States should play an active role in supporting existing and in establishing new consultation forums, with proper representation of the actors along the food chain, so as to promote dialogue and establish guidelines to bring about fairer, more balanced relationships.

Documents
2012/01/19
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2012/01/16
   EP - Motion for a resolution
Documents
2012/01/16
   EP - Motion for a resolution
Documents
2012/01/16
   EP - Motion for a resolution
Documents
2012/01/16
   EP - Motion for a resolution
Documents
2012/01/16
   EP - Motion for a resolution
Documents
2012/01/16
   EP - Motion for a resolution
Documents
2012/01/16
   Joint motion for resolution
Documents
2012/01/12
   EP - Oral question/interpellation by Parliament
Documents
2011/12/16
   EP - Oral question/interpellation by Parliament
Documents
2011/12/16
   EP - Oral question/interpellation by Parliament
Documents

Documents

History

(these mark the time of scraping, not the official date of the change)

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activities
  • date: 2012-01-19T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=21103&l=en type: Results of vote in Parliament title: Results of vote in Parliament url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20120119&type=CRE type: Debate in Parliament title: Debate in Parliament url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P7-TA-2012-12 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading title: T7-0012/2012 body: EP type: Results of vote in Parliament
commission
  • body: EC dg: Agriculture and Rural Development commissioner: CIOLOŞ Dacian
committees
    docs
    • date: 2011-12-16T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=B7-2011-675&language=EN title: B7-0675/2011 type: Oral question/interpellation by Parliament body: EP
    • date: 2011-12-16T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=B7-2011-676&language=EN title: B7-0676/2011 type: Oral question/interpellation by Parliament body: EP
    • date: 2012-01-12T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=B7-2012-21&language=EN title: B7-0021/2012 type: Oral question/interpellation by Parliament body: EP
    • date: 2012-01-16T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=B7-2012-6&language=EN title: B7-0006/2012 type: Motion for a resolution body: EP
    • date: 2012-01-16T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=B7-2012-7&language=EN title: B7-0007/2012 type: Motion for a resolution body: EP
    • date: 2012-01-16T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=B7-2012-8&language=EN title: B7-0008/2012 type: Motion for a resolution body: EP
    • date: 2012-01-16T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=B7-2012-9&language=EN title: B7-0009/2012 type: Motion for a resolution body: EP
    • date: 2012-01-16T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=B7-2012-10&language=EN title: B7-0010/2012 type: Motion for a resolution body: EP
    • date: 2012-01-16T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=B7-2012-13&language=EN title: B7-0013/2012 type: Motion for a resolution body: EP
    • date: 2012-01-16T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=P7-RC-2012-6&language=EN title: RC-B7-0006/2012 type: Joint motion for resolution
    • date: 2012-05-08T00:00:00 docs: url: /oeil/spdoc.do?i=21103&j=0&l=en title: SP(2012)212 type: Commission response to text adopted in plenary
    events
    • date: 2012-01-19T00:00:00 type: Results of vote in Parliament body: EP docs: url: https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=21103&l=en title: Results of vote in Parliament
    • date: 2012-01-19T00:00:00 type: Debate in Parliament body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20120119&type=CRE title: Debate in Parliament
    • date: 2012-01-19T00:00:00 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P7-TA-2012-12 title: T7-0012/2012 summary: The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the imbalances in the food supply chain, in response to the Commission communication on a better functioning of the food supply chain. The resolution was tabled by the EPP, ALDE, Greens/EFA, S&D, and GUE/NGL groups. It points out that the food supply chain, agriculture, the agri-food industry and food distribution account for 7% of total employment in the EU and are worth EUR 1400 billion per year - a figure greater than that for any other manufacturing sector in the EU - and that the share of agricultural value added from the food supply chain dropped from 31% in 1995 to 24% in 2005 in the EU-25. Parliament emphasises that the problem of imbalances in the food distribution chain has a clear European dimension, which calls for a specific European solution. Whilst tackling the imbalances in the food distribution chain includes self-regulation, it also requires regulation and adjustments to competition law . The resolution calls on the Commission to propose robust EU legislation - where necessary and without distorting the proper functioning of the markets - to guarantee fair and transparent relationships between producers, suppliers and distributors of food products, and to implement properly the rules already in force. Members note in this regard the latest agricultural income figures from Eurostat show that, since 2009, there has been an 11.6% drop in farm incomes at EU level, whilst total input costs for EU farmers increased on average by almost 40% between 2000 and 2010. Parliament urges the Commission and Member States to continue to address the problem of unfair distribution of profits within the food chain, especially with regard to adequate incomes for farmers, stressing that power struggles must give way to cooperative relationships. Unfair practices: Parliament calls on national and European competition authorities and other regulatory authorities to take action against abusive buyer practices on the part of dominant wholesalers and retailers that systematically put farmers in an extremely unequal bargaining position. It calls for a clear, rigorous and objective definition of abusive and unfair practices , so that such practices are subject to specific regulation, supervision and objective sanctions. Members highlight a non-exhaustive list of practices about which producers have raised concerns in relation to the functioning of the food supply chain. These include the following: - on access to retailers: (i) advance payment for accessing negotiation; (ii) listing fees; (iii) entry fees; (iv) pricing; (v) payment delays; (v) most favoured client clause; - on unfair contractual conditions or unilateral changes to contract terms: (i) unilateral and retrospective changes to contractual conditions; (ii) unilateral breach of contract; (iii) exclusivity clauses/fees; (iv) imposition of a ‘forced’ contribution for private brands; (v) retaliatory practices; (vi) margin recovery; (vii) overriding discounts; (viii) imposition of payment for waste processing; (ix) inverted auctions; (x) unrealistic delivery terms; (xi) payment to cover (non-previously agreed) promotions; (xii) imposing unconditional return of (unsold) merchandise; (xiii) imposition on suppliers of costs related to product shrinkage or theft. Parliament calls for the establishment of a framework to effectively control these practices, by launching a full-sector inquiry , through administrative or judicial means, and then by introducing a system of evaluation and monitoring operated by Member States and coordinated by the Commission, with dissuasive sanctions applied effectively and in good time. On payment, Members ask for the introduction of better means to ensure that payment deadlines are complied with, taking into account the provisions of the Late Payments Directive, and for new instruments to be put in place to minimise the length of time between delivery and the moment at which payment is actually received by suppliers. Solutions are urgently required to deal with the specific problems encountered by producers of perishable goods with short shelf-lives, who face major cash flow difficulties. Parliament also asks the Commission to: · improve the European Price Monitoring Tool and develop a user-friendly, transparent and multilingual interface which allows consumers and stakeholders to compare prices of basic foodstuffs within a certain Member State and between different Member States at each stage in the food supply chain and which also takes into account differences in costs of living in the Member States; · clarify the application of competition rules in agriculture , with the aim of providing farmers and their inter-branch organisations with tools that will make it possible to improve their negotiating position; · make an assessment of and changes to existing EU competition law , with a view to ensuring that greater account is taken of the harmful effects of vertical concentration on the entire food supply chain, instead of there being a narrow focus on the relative positions of various companies on the market and distortions of competition being viewed solely on the basis of their detrimental effect to consumers; · better coordinate the work of its various services , so as to be able to play a more effective role in price monitoring throughout the food chain and in monitoring retail dynamics and relative market shares throughout the EU. Members calls for the creation of an independent Food Trading Ombudsman to liaise with the relevant trade and competition authorities and with national food trading Ombudsmen in each Member State, in order to share information. The European Ombudsman and the various national Ombudsmen should be responsible for ensuring compliance with the relevant legislation and recommending timely and appropriate sanctions; · conduct an in-depth study into the differences in approach between the 27 national competition authorities and policies and to encourage solutions which involve all partners in the food production chain and prevent abuses of dominant positions in one or a restricted number of parts of the input or output chain, which often occur at the expense of the agricultural producer. Lastly, Parliament insists that the Member States should play an active role in supporting existing and in establishing new consultation forums, with proper representation of the actors along the food chain, so as to promote dialogue and establish guidelines to bring about fairer, more balanced relationships.
    • date: 2012-01-19T00:00:00 type: End of procedure in Parliament body: EP
    links
    other
    • body: EC dg: url: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/agriculture/ title: Agriculture and Rural Development commissioner: CIOLOŞ Dacian
    procedure/legal_basis/0
    Rules of Procedure EP 128-p5
    procedure/legal_basis/0
    Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament EP 128-p5
    procedure/subject
    Old
    • 3.10.01 Agricultural structures and holdings, farmers
    • 3.10.02 Processed products, agri-foodstuffs
    • 3.10.03 Marketing and trade of agricultural products and livestock
    • 3.40.13 Food industry
    New
    3.10.01
    Agricultural structures and holdings, farmers
    3.10.02
    Processed products, agri-foodstuffs
    3.10.03
    Marketing and trade of agricultural products and livestock
    3.40.13
    Food industry
    procedure/subtype
    Old
    Debate or resolution on oral questions
    New
    Debate or resolution on oral question/interpellation
    activities
    • date: 2012-01-19T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=21103&l=en type: Results of vote in Parliament title: Results of vote in Parliament url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20120119&type=CRE type: Debate in Parliament title: Debate in Parliament url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P7-TA-2012-12 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading title: T7-0012/2012 body: EP type: Results of vote in Parliament
    committees
      links
      other
      • body: EC dg: url: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/agriculture/ title: Agriculture and Rural Development commissioner: CIOLOŞ Dacian
      procedure
      reference
      2011/2904(RSP)
      title
      Resolution on the imbalances in the food supply chain
      legal_basis
      Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament EP 128-p5
      stage_reached
      Procedure completed
      subtype
      Debate or resolution on oral questions
      type
      RSP - Resolutions on topical subjects
      subject