Producers need a fair return for their efforts – McGuinness

A sustainable food supply chain demands that there is fairness and that producers get a fair return for their efforts, MEP Mairead McGuinness has said.

The Fine Gael MEP was outlining her concerns over the imbalance of power in the food supply chain to the Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska.

Commissioner Bieńkowska has agreed to the MEP’s request to hold further talks on the issues raised.

McGuinness, who is also a Vice-President of the European Parliament, also stated that legislative proposals were required to tackle unfair trading practices.

Some 16 Member States have legislated against these unfair trading practices which has implications for the internal market of the EU, according to the MEP.

The voluntary code, the Supply Chain Initiative, is a positive development, but it’s voluntary nature makes it weaker than what is necessary.

“We are awaiting a report from the Commission, which may now be available in December on the issue and I stressed to the Commissioner the need for clear action.

“She committed to discussing the issues with her colleagues including the Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, and the Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager to see if progress can be made.

This is a very welcome development and supports my call for action for which I have advocated for some time,” McGuinness said.

The Fine Gael MEP also said that she believes the EU must act on this issue and has a responsibility to meet in that regard, but there are others in the sector who want a hands off approach.

“It is paramount that the EU takes a lead on this issue to ensure Europe has a fair, sustainable food supply chain in the future,” McGuinness added.