EU ready to tackle food chain power imbalances: Hogan
BRUSSELS is moving to legislate to address the power imbalance that exists in Europe’s food chain, EU Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan has told a conference in Dublin.
Commissioner Hogan ( inset) said that increased globalisation and a high level of concentration within Europe’s retail sector meant that supermarkets now enjoyed what he described as “super-power”.
“The imbalance of bargaining power between price setters and price takers is stark, leading to a situation where there is a real fear factor for farmers,” he said.
Commissioner Hogan said the EU was in the process of drafting legislation to implement the recommendations of the Agricultural Markets Task Force.
The task force’s report from 2016 called for new rules at EU level to cover certain unfair trading practices (UTPs), as well as the implementation of effective enforcement regimes in member states such as through the use of an adjudicator. Speaking at a Food Safety Authority of Ireland conference on food fraud last week, Commissioner Hogan claimed that recent EU studies had shown that the only opposition to the task forces proposed measures came from the retail sector. Welcoming Commissioner Hogan’s recent speech, the ICMSA president John Comer said it represented another welcome step towards a longoverdue re-balancing of power and margins in the EU’s foodsupply chain. Mr Comer expressed his unqualified support for any moves by the Commission to curb what he described as the “abusive dominance” of the retail sector.