‘Who’s got the power?’ Report launch in the European Parliament

18 November 2014 (Brussels) – At the event “Solutions to tackle imbalances of power in agricultural supply chains”, hosted by MEP Catherine Stihler, in the European Parliament the Fair Trade movement officially launched its report “Who’s got the power? Tackling imbalances in agricultural supply chains”. Eminent speakers underlined the importance of the issue and discussed the suggestions made in the report.

The Fair Trade movement hands over the new report “Who’s got the power? Tackling imbalances in agricultural supply chains” (available here: abstract and full version) before the debate to EU representatives.


Left to right: Florence Sonntag (PFCE), MEP Paul Brennan (S&D, UK), Sergi Corbalán (FTAO), MEP Dennis de Jong (GUE, NL), host MEP Catherine Stihler (S&D, UK), Claire Bury (DG Internal Market). Click here for higher resolution picture.

MEP Catherine Stihler, Vice-chair of Internal Market and Consumers Committee of the European Parliament (IMCO) hosted and chaired the event that featured a list of eminent speakers from various backgrounds. Ms Stihler gave her opening speech that was followed by the input from MEP Mairead McGuinness (EPP, IE), Vice-President of the EP and chair of an MEP informal working group on the issues in supply chains, expressed that the level of progress made so far by the EU on the topic was not enough and demanded more focus on this issue. The following speaker was Claire Bury (Director of Directorate E – Service of DG Internal Market and Services of European Commission), who explained what the Commission has been doing on the topic of Unfair Trading Practices in the past years and what is to be done regarding the evaluation of Member States’ enforcement mechanisms.

The results of the report about the repercussions that result from imbalances of power in supply chains were presented by the drafter Christophe Alliot of BASIC, who then passed the word onto Sergi Corbalán of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO)  that put forward possible solutions that the EU can take. “Policy-makers should not tolerate strong supply chain actors squeezing out weaker ones, both upstream and downstream. Turning a blind eye to abuses of power in supply chain is not only unethical, it also a main obstacle to the sustainability of supply chains and the interest of future consumers” he said.


Panel left to right: Olivier De Schutter, Dennis de Jong, Sergi Corbalán, Catherine Stihler, Claire Bury, Mairead McGuinness, Adam Bedford. Click here for higher resolution picture.

Olivier De Schutter, former United Nations Rapporteur on the right to food, was the first one to be given a word after the presentation. In his reaction he stated that governance in the supply chains is something that is never discussed by governments. It is still a taboo.

The similarity of the problems faced by farmers in and outside of Europe and the change that the Grocery Code Adjudicator made in the UK were highlighted by Adam Bedford representing UK (National Farmers Union) and European farmers (COPA-COGECA). The last speaker on the panel was MEP Dennis de Jong (GUE, NL), rapporteur of the European Retail Action Plan who in his speech called for a more nuanced approach towards regulation.

MEP Catherine Stihler then invited the audience to join the debate. The last part of the event was filled with interesting questions and lively exchange of views.

More pictures of the event can be found here.


Notes to Editors:

For more information about the organizations commissioning this study, please follow these links: Fairtrade International www.fairtrade.net; World Fair Trade Organization www.wfto.com; Fair Trade Advocacy Office www.fairtrade-advocacy.org; Traidcraft www.traidcraft.org.uk; Plate-forme pour le Commerce Equitable www.commercequitable.org; Fair Trade Germany www.fairtrade-deutschland.de.

For further information please contact Peter Möhringer at moehringer@fairtrade-advocacy.org.

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