Tuesday, September 7, 2010

EU Farm Debate


The European Commission has been urged to do more to protect farmers from the effects of unfair competition and abuses by supermarket chains.

Opening a debate on 6 September, French green MEP José Bové, a farmer, called on new laws to regulate the food distribution and retail industry.

Mr Bové's report comes amid consultation ahead of future reform of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).

MEPs on the Agriculture Committee have called for tougher penalties and easier complaint procedures in instances of alleged breaches of existing laws.

Mr Bové said that prices paid to farmers by supermarket chains had fallen, but that a similar fall had not been passed on to consumers.

He called for an EU-wide "observatory" of farm prices.

British conservative MEP Ashley Fox urged MEPs to reject the original report, and said that Mr Bove and his supporters did not understand that "markets work".

However Irish centre-right MEP Mairead McGuinness said she was "horrified" at any move towards "light-touch" regulation.

Responding to the debate, Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos admitted there was "abuse" by the distribution sector and promised that the Commission would do more to help food producers to have a "fair chance" in the global market.

At committee stage the report was adopted by 32 votes to 4 and was formally adopted by the Parliament as a whole at the daily voting session on 7 September. However an amendment calling for preferential treatment for farmers' organisations by authorities awarding public procurement contracts was defeated by one vote

José Bové, is a well known sheep dairy farmer - something of a hero in France and elsewhere.

If you watch the video, the term "tabled" in Europe means the opposite of the meaning in America - "tabled" means brought forward.

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